The Immortalisation: Caribbean parasite named after Bob Marley

by Seyi Lawal

He might have sang ‘Lion, Zion’ but its a small crustacean parasite which feeds on fish in the Caribbean that he will be remembered by, in what the biologist who discovered it calls a tribute to the late reggae icon, Bob Marley.

The tiny shellfish, a blood feeder that inhabits the coral reefs of the shallow eastern Caribbean, has been called Gnathia marleyi after the Jamaican music legend, AFP reports.

“I named this species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my respect and admiration for Marley’s music,” said Dr. Paul Sikkel, a field marine biologist at Arkansas State University. “Plus, this species is as uniquely Caribbean as was Marley,” he added in a statement on the website of the National Science Foundation, as well as that of the university.

In an email to AFP, he added: “I am a HUGE Bob Marley fan and have been since high school. I have three large Bob Marley posters in my laboratory, have virtually everything he has ever recorded.”

The creature, from the family of gnathiid isopods, is the first new species to be found in the Caribbean in more than two decades, the National Science Foundation said.

Naming new species after celebrities is nothing new: President Barack Obama has a lichen named after him; Microsoft founder Bill Gates has a flower fly, and Elvis Presley has a wasp, the foundation said.

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