Music | February 29, 2020 6:30 am

Scientists Name New Deep-Sea Crustacean After Metallica

Say hello to Macrostylis metallicola

James Hetfield performing onstage
James Hetfield of Metallica doing an impression of the crustacean, probably.
Matthew Baker/Getty

Heavy metal features phantasmagoric imagery like no other musical genre. So it’s not a complete surprise that a scientist looking to name a menacing-looking creature that lives in the depths of the ocean might look to Metallica for inspiration.

And thus, Macrostylis metallicola was born — well, named. Pitchfork reports that a pair of scientists have named this tiny crustacean in an homage to the venerable metal band.

Drs. Torben Riehl and Bart De Smet, who discovered the species, decided to name it after the thrash metal band both to pay tribute to their work and also make reference to the polymetallic nodules that make up the species’ habitat.

According to a report by the scientists who discovered it, the new species lives in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCFZ), which runs though the Pacific Ocean from Mexico to Hawaii. Metallica’s official Instagram page offers more details, along with a number of puns riffing on Metallica song titles — which is entirely understandable, given the circumstances.

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We’ve played on all seven continents, made it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and now… we’re a crustacean! Senckenberg researcher Dr. Torben Riehl and Dr. Bart De Smet of Ghent University in Belgium have discovered a new crustacean species in the depths of the northern Pacifica Ocean and decided to name it after some rock band… Welcome to our world Macrostylis metallicola! First of all, stellar name Dr. Riehl. Second, what an honor! Not only did Dr. Riehn name his discovery after a band as he has been a fan since childhood, The Thing That Should Not Be has a few things in common with us. The worm-like creature dwells in complete darkness, has no eyes, and is colorless. Talk about Blackened! It also lives amongst metallic nodules containing cobalt, copper, manganese, nickel, and rare-earth elements. So it basically lives in a rock stadium? Now that’s one metal crustacean! You just never know what you’ll find lurking beneath the sea. Art by @anyfranksz

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The report announcing the crustacean’s discovery suggests that even the power of rock might not be able to stop environmental catastrophes, though. “Local extinction of populations could potentially not be compensated quickly and would mean a loss of genetic diversity of this species,” the doctors write.

If only someone would name another deep-sea creature after Lou Reed, we might get the greatest undersea musical collaboration ever.

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