A Shrimp That Can Kill With Sound Is Named After Pink Floyd
by ROBIN HILTON
Synalpheus pinkfloydi, which was recently named after the band Pink Floyd, for the distinctive coloration of its claw. Arthur Anker/Courtesy of Sammy De Grave and Oxford University
Legend has it that the band Pink Floyd once played so loudly at a show that the sheer volume had killed all the fish in a nearby pond.
Now there’s a new species of shrimp, named after Pink Floyd, that can kill fish by making a loud noise. Synalpheus pinkfloydi rapidly opens then snaps closed its large claw, generating frequencies up to 210 decibels — louder than a typical rock concert and loud enough to kill small fish nearby.
It turns out, however, that its new name has nothing to do with that urban myth about Pink Floyd’s volume. Dr. Sammy DeGrave, head of research at Oxford University Museum of National History, says the inspiration for the shrimp’s name was really the color of its claw: pink. “The reference is to the line, ‘By the way, which one of you is Pink?’ from the song ‘Have A Cigar’,” DeGrave told NPR when reached over the phone. “The story is when Pink Floyd first went to America, people thought one of the band members was actually named Pink. A reporter asked, ‘Which one of you is pink?” so that’s what stuck in our mind and that’s where [the name] came from.”