20070920 fish auction 18
Considered the most spectacularly colored of all coral reef fish, flasher wrasse derive their common name from the unique courtship behavior of the males, which rise up in the water column and suddenly "flash" electric neon colors while simultaneously erecting their fins to draw the attention of potential mates. This species was discovered in April 2006. - 


Scott Jagow: If you've got enough money, people will name things after you. Stadiums or museums, for example. How boring. This sounds so much cooler: Having a fish named after you. Here's Geoff Brumfiel.

Geoff Brumfiel: When the nonprofit Conservation International mounted an expedition to Indonesia last year, they really did travel into uncharted waters. At an unexplored reef, biologists discovered dozens of new fish species.

Today, the group and some partners are selling the naming rights of 10 species to the highest bidder. The auction, to be held in Monaco's swank oceanographic museum, is expected to draw wealthy fishophiles from around the globe.

The live auction is a first, but other species -- even insects -- often get named after people, says Simon Coppard of the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature.

Simon Coppard: President Bush had a beetle named after him. Ironically, it turned out to be a slime-mold beetle, but nevertheless, it was a beetle.

In this case, the money will go to a good cause. Organizers hope the auction will raise over a million dollars to help protect the newly-christened fishies.

In London, I'm Geoff Brumfiel for Marketplace.