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Researchers name South American catfish after 'Star Wars' character

Researchers at Auburn University named the suckermouth armored catfish Peckoltia greedoi because it resembles alien bounty hunter "Greedo," from Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope.

By Fred Lambert

AUBURN, Ala., March 21 (UPI) -- Researchers named a South American catfish species based on its resemblance to an alien bounty hunter from the original Star Wars film.

The Peckoltia greedoi is a puckermouth armored catfish discovered in Brazil's Gurupi River in 1998. Last fall researchers from Auburn University were examining the fish when they noted that it looked like "Greedo," a green, bug-eyed alien bounty hunter who tries to collect on Han Solo in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

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"As a 7-year-old kid, I watched Star Wars in the theater and it was a life-changing experience for me," Jonathan Armbruster, a biological sciences professor at the Auburn University Museum of Natural History, said in a statement. "I became a lifelong fan, and I now share that with my son. Greedo has always been a personal favorite of mine."

Armbruster originally obtained specimens of the Peckoltia greedoi in 2005. Ten years later he and other researchers were evaluating the fish's characteristics when one of them made the Star Wars connection.

"After a little prodding, I realized he was talking about Greedo," Armbruster said. "We then knew what the name had to be. The Peckoltia greedoi does bear a striking resemblance to Greedo."

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Armbruster, who has named more than 40 fish species, said he and his colleagues often name species after each other.

"I have named a few species after colleagues like Peckoltia lujani for my former student, Nathan Lujan, Hypostomus pagei for my advisor, Lawrence Page, and Peckoltia sabaji for a close friend and colleague, Mark Sabaj Pérez," Armbruster said. "I've also had former students name species for me."

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