Oceanic Parasite Named After Bob Marley
A new type of parasite, recently discovered in the waters off the coast of Jamaica, has been named in honor of the Jamaican reggae guitarist and singer, Bob Marley. The new species, Gnathia marleyi, is a member of the gnathiid family, the ocean-equivalent of mianland ticks and mosquitoes. Gnathia live among coral reefs, infesting fish and living on them into adulthood. Ecologically, the parasites serve as an important food source for fish.
Marine biologist and researcher Paul Sikkel of Arkansas State University is responsible for choosing the name of the species. In an interview with the Guardian, Sikkel stated:
"I named this species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my respect and admiration for Marley's music. Plus, this species is as uniquely Caribbean as Marley."
The reggae legend is not the only famous musician to have a biological species named after him. G. marleyi joins Preseucoila, a genus of wasp named after Elvis Presley, as well as Scaptia Beyonceae, a rare breed of horse fly coined after singer Beyonce.
Sikkel’s team plans to study the relationship between the G. marleyi and coral reef populations.
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