Bob Marley Gets Bloodsucking Fish Parasite Named after Him

Say hi to Gnathia marleyi.

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National Science Foundation / Reuters

A new species within the gnathiid family has been named after Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley.

What do President Barack Obama, Elvis Presley, Bill Gates, and now Bob Marley have in common? Each one of them has a biological species named after him. In Bob Marley’s case, it’s a small crustacean.

Marine biologist Paul Sikkel of Arkansas State University discovered a new parasitic crustacean and named it after the late Jamaican reggae star Bob Marley. Gnathia marleyi, a small crustacean that infests and eats the blood of certain fish in the coral reefs of the shallow eastern Caribbean, is a new species in the gnathiid family of crustaceans, says the National Science Foundation (NSF). It is also the first new species to be discovered in the Caribbean in more than twenty years.

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“I named this species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my respect and admiration for Marley’s music,” explained Sikkel. “Plus this species is as uniquely Caribbean as was Marley.”

Because Marley died of cancer in 1981, at the age of 36, we will never find out his reaction to having a bloodsucking fish parasite named after him.

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