Bloodsucking parasite named after Bob Marley

Published July 11, 2012

| news.com.au

Reggae king Bob Marley has finally hit the big time, joining an exclusive club of superstars with a species named after them.

A marine biologist has discovered and named a small parasitic crustacean Gnathia marleyi. You read that right: a crustacean, not a Crustafarian.

"I named this species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my respect and admiration for Marley's music," the discoverer, Paul Sikkel, an assistant professor in marine biology at Arkansas State University, said. "Plus, this species is as uniquely Caribbean as was Marley."

Young gnathia marleyi hide among coral and launch surprise attacks on fish, which they then infest.

The Jamaican singer and guitarist isn't the first big name to have the honor of sharing his name with a species.

Elvis has a wasp named after him, the Preseucoila imallshookupis, Bill Gates has a flower fly and Barack Obama has a lichen. Lucky Barack.

But every little thing might not be alright for Marley's species.

The US National Science Foundation says that there have been increasing numbers of reports that Caribbean coral communities are declining due to disease.

The Gnathia marleyi is the first new species to be described in the Caribbean in over two decades. About 80 percent of all organisms found on coral reefs are parasites like Gnathia marleyi.

Bob Marley died in 1981.

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