Yoda purpurata, along with three other new acorn worm species were discovered 1.5 miles under the Atlantic Ocean during a recent survey of the mid-Atlantic Ridge. All of the species were discovered on or just slightly above the seafloor, photographed, and then collected by an underwater ROV for later description. The new species are described in the latest issue of Invertebrate Biology.
Yoda purpurata was named by Nick Holland, the world authority on enteropneusts, due to its resemblance to Jedi Master Yoda. However the large appendages are not ears – they are lips.
Yoda purpurata joins the growing list of new species named after celebrities including Gnathia marleyi, a fish parasite, that is named after the late reggae singer Bob Marley.
(originally published on October 8, 2012)