Obama! What a fish!

Team WOWRAL Sep 04, 2016

A small maroon and gold fish species is named after the U.S. President Barack Obama which was discovered 300 feet deep in the waters off Kure Atoll in the Pacific ocean. The fish is of the genus Tosanoides and gets it name, Obama for the President’s obligation to protect the nature through the development of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

The fish was discovered in June 2016 during a trip to the world’s northernmost coral reef island- Kure.

The Obama fish is found only within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, a World Heritage site encompassing 1,510,000 square kilometres of ocean waters, including ten islands and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.


Millions of seabirds, endangered turtles, endangered monk seals, and more than 7,000 species are found here and the site is the largest swath of protected land or water on Earth.

While being underwater, Richard Pyle, a marine biologist at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii saw a group of fish he did not recognize. He collected a male sample for analysis and the female specimen was collected a few days later by Bishop Museum affiliate Brian Greene at an atoll about 249 km from Kure.

Scientists established that the fish signify a new species and the first member of the genus Tosanoides was found outside of the waters off Japan. However this is not the first fish to be named after Mr. Obama. A species of darters found only in the Duck River and the Buffalo River in U.S. was named Etheostoma obama in 2012.

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