Bloodsucking Parasite Species Named in Honor of Bob Marley

"I named this species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my respect and admiration for Marley's music,” researcher says

By Reena Roy
|  Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012  |  Updated 9:16 AM PDT
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Bloodsucking Parasite Species Named After Bob Marley

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The "One Love" singer now has at least two species named after him.

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Bob Marley advocated world peace through his music, but the blood feeder named after him is anything but peaceful.

The bloodsucking crustacean species—now known as Gnathia marleyi—was recently discovered in a Caribbean coral reef by Paul Sikkel, a marine biologist at Arkansas State University, the Guardian reported.

"I named this species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my respect and admiration for Marley's music,” Sikkel said Tuesday in a press release from the National Science Foundation. “Plus, this species is as uniquely Caribbean as Marley.”

Gnathia marleyi hide among coral rubble to attack fish, which they infest and feed on until they die off as adults, Sikkel explained.

Sikkel and his colleagues have been intensely investigating the species because it could be contributing to the decline in Caribbean coral reef health. They suspect coral degradation facilitates parasite attacks, increasing the spread of blood-borne diseases that cause a decrease in the fish population. The parasite is similar to bloodsucking ticks and disease-carrying mosquitoes, Sikkel said.

Specimens of the Gnathia marleyi will be held indefinitely at the American Museum of Natural History in New York for future reference.

Marley has other creatures named after him, including the Bob Marley sponge in the Great Barrier Reef. The late reggae icon from Jamaica is one of many celebrities with species named in their honor. A wasp was named after Elvis Presley and a lichen after Barack Obama, according to the Guardian.
 

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