A recently discovered species of deep sea snail, the Alviconcha strummeri, has been named by scientists in honor of the Clash frontman Joe Strummer.
Why? “Because they look like punk rockers in the 70s and 80s and they have purple blood and live in such an extreme environment, we decided to name one new species after a punk rock icon,” Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute that discovered the snail, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
The Alviconcha strummeri is the size of a golf ball, lives at the bottom of the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans in depths of up to 11,500 feet (3,500 meters), and, most importantly, has a cool yellow spiky shell.
To be precise, Joe Strummer wasn’t the one known for sporting blond spikes (that was his fellow Clash City rocker Paul Simonon) and only traded his rockabilly slicked back hairstyle for a Mohawk just before the Clash broke up.
The strummeri is one of five new Alviconcha species identified earlier this year by the team of scientists and reported in a publication in the scientific journal Systematics and Biodiversity this month. But the strummeri was the only one to get a fancy musical moniker, with the others getting stuck with names of research facilities or snail experts, according to The Guardian.
Explaining the etymology, the scientists wrote that “the name highlights the ‘hardcore’ nature of Alviniconcha snails, that inhabit the hottest, most acidic and most sulphidic microhabitats at Indo-Pacific hydrothermal vents. The name also recognizes the surface of Alviniconcha shells: the spiky periostracum resembles the fashion of punk rock bands.”
The Alviconcha strummeri joins a long list of living organisms that were named after musicians, celebrities or historic figures, including the Aptostichus angelinajolieae, the Aleiodes shakirae, the Aptostichus stephencolberti, the Eristalis gatesi, the Gnathia marleyi, the Loureedia, the Mandelia mirocornata or even the Aegrotocatellus jaggeri. Scientists are said to do this, no doubt to have fun and pay tribute to people they admire (hopefully not in the case of the Anophthalmus hitleri), but also to draw attention to their work and to such scientific matters.
It’s also not the first time Joe Strummer lends his name to an entity. Last year, a city plaza was named in his honor in Granada, Spain, which gets a shout out in the London Calling track “Spanish Bombs.”