A spectacular new species of freshwater crayfish, Cherax snowden, has been described from the Oinsok River Drainage, Sawiat District in the central part of the Kepala Burung Peninsula, West Papua, Indonesia, by Christian Lukhaup from the Humboldt University of Berlin and colleagues.
With its orange to greenishly orange motley tip, Cherax snowden has been long-confused with other members of the genus Cherax by the tradesmen who have been collecting them for ornamental purposes.
“The first specimens of Cherax snowden were exported from the city of Sorong, Indonesia as Cherax sp. in 2006,” Lukhaup and co-authors wrote in a paper published in the journal ZooKeys.
“Those crayfish have been captured by an unknown local collector from Kepala Burung for ornamental purposes in West Papua, Indonesia and imported to Aquarium Dietzenbach in Germany through Maju Aquarium in Jakarta.”
Although Cherax snowden has probably been sold under another name for years, the scientists figured that it is in fact easily distinguishable by its shape of body and coloration. In order to prove it as a separate species, they used sequence divergence as well.
Having traveled across the world from its so far only known locality, West Papua, New Guinea, the new species was given the name of the controversial former CIA employee Edward Snowden, who is famous for leaking secretive information from the U.S. National Security Agency.
“The new species is named after the American freedom fighter Edward Joseph Snowden. He is honored due to of his extraordinary achievements in defense of justice, and freedom,” the scientists wrote in the paper.