But it may also be so different that a new genus must be created. Often the genus or species name refers to some morphological features, a color pattern or a geographic area. A good example is the stony coral genus Palauastrea, which was described in 1941 by Yabe and Sugiyama from Nikko Bay (the type locality) in Palau. The genus only has a single species, Palauastrea ramosa, what we would call “monotypic” or one type, but has a wide geographic distribution, instead of being endemic only to Palau (despite having been named for Palau).
A new species can be named in honor of a person, known as a “patronym”. The person for whom a new species is named may be a scientist who assisted with knowledge of the group, or someone who collected the species being named, or someone who provided support for the research work. It is a way of recognizing a significant contribution of some kind. CRRF named a seastar, Astrosarkus idipii, in honor of David Idip Sr., the former Director of the Bureau of Marine Resources. The genus was also new, and described at the same time the species, by Dr. Chris Mah in 2003.
Nearly all species descriptions have a single individual designated as the holotype, with additional specimens of the same organism and used in the original description as paratypes. The holotype and paratypes are usually actual preserved specimens, typically held in a museum collection somewhere in the world, and the name given is tied to the holotype in perpetuity. If a holotype is destroyed (say the museum where it was deposited was destroyed in a war and all collections lost), a new primary type can be designated.
Subspecies can also exist. These are organisms that don’t quite meet all the criteria to be considered full species with their own binomial name, but have some differences and are distinct in some way. All subspecies within a given species use the same binomial, but a third subspecific name is added. For example, the golden jellyfish of Palau is found in the lagoon area, but has also migrated into five separate marine lakes. Each of the five lake forms of the jellyfish were derived from the lagoon species, Mastigias papua (Lesson, 1830). In 2005 Dr. Michael Dawson named each of the five lake forms as separate subspecies for the five elected Presidents of Palau. Hence, the golden jellyfish found in Jellyfish Lake open to tourists is named Mastigias papua etpisoni, named after Palau’s 3rd president, Ngiratkel Etpison.