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January 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 39, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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The Magnificent Name Game

from the January, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Part of the fun of studying tropical fish in the Pacific is considering some of the outlandish names they've been given. In what appears to be a game of taxonomic oneupmanship, no extravagant adjective gets left behind. You saw a ghost pipefish? Well, I saw an ornate ghost pipefish! My giant frogfish is bigger than your ocellated frogfish. A robust ghost pipefish (the size and shape of a blade of grass) trumps a slender pipefish. And this list goes on, from the gorgeous shrimp goby to the splendid hawkfish. The next species discovered will probably be called something like the hyperbolic humphead.

-- Larry Clinton

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