And today (July 11, 2012), we bring you the bizarre news that Bob Marley has had a parasite named after him. CBS News have reported that the crustacean, found in the Caribbean sea, has been named "Gnathia marleyi." Paul Sikkel, the assistant professor of marine ecology at Arkansas State University explains why he named the blood feeder after the reggae legend: "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 was Marley."
Bob Marley can now be counted in a club that includes President Barack Obama, the comedian Stephen Colbert and Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger, who all have species named after them. Even Beyonce gave her name to a particular species of horsefly, with a golden rear, which is now named "Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae."
The gnathids to which Marley lends his name hide within coral rubble and algae, where they launch "surprise attacks" on fish and infest them. Sikkel explains "We believe that adults subsist for two to three weeks on the last feedings they had as juveniles and then die, hopefully after they have reproduced." They are also thought to be responsible for diseases in afflicted coral-reef fish: "We suspect that coral degradation leads to more available habitat for external parasites to launch attacks on host fishes. And as the number of potential host fish decreases, each remaining host will become more heavily parasitized."
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