A close-up of an adult male gnathiid is pictured in this handout picture supplied by the National Science Foundation, July 10, 2012. (Photo : National Science Foundation / )
Bob Marley and his music will further be immortalized as a scientist today secured the use of his name for research, a move that will likely have the reggae star remembered as his named will be used internationally and perhaps continuously.
On Tuesday, Paul Sikkel, an assistant professor of marine ecology and biologist at Arkansas State, issued a statement where he announced the naming of a parasitic crustacean that infests other fish.
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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," said Sikkel on Tuesday, July 10.
The blood feeder is to be known as Gnathia marleyi and represents the first new species found in the Caribbean in more than two decades.
The newly discovered sea parasite possesses some interesting abilities according to the National Science Foundation.
They have the ability to launch an ambush against fish they want to feed on and infest while concealing themselves in coral reefs - their homes. After invading a host, the creatures remain until they ultimately die off.
Sikkel further explained about the crustaceans by saying, "Gnathiids, in general, are the most common external parasites found on coral reefs and are ecologically similar to land-based blood-sucking ticks or disease-carrying mosquitoes."
According to Sikkel, these gnathiids inhabit all throughout the ocean floor from "pole to pole and shallow reefs to the abyss - and everywhere [in] between".
The study and research on the Gnathia marleyi is significant since it is related to a quickly developing field of study in marine science called "disease ecology".
Diseases affecting desirable fish are many times caused or transmitted by these gnathiids and according to the biologist, "At the end of the day, it comes down to simple oceanic economics: the more parasites there are, the fewer fish there are--at least until the parasites run out of hosts to infect. And fewer fish in the sea can cause significant losses to the populations that depend on them."
The Gnathia marleyi was discovered by Sikkel almost 10 years ago in the U.S. Virgin Islands but Sikkel assumed the species had already been indexed. Although it was previously found the species had been overlooked by taxonomists.
And as for the late Jamaican singer and guitarist, who died in 1981, he now joins the ranks of famous people such as President Barack Obama, comedian Stephen Colbert, Bill Gates and Elvis Presley who all have species named after them.
Here is a list of species named after famous people:
President Barack Obama - Caloplaca obamae, a lichen
Stephen Colbert - Agaporomorphus Colberti, a diving beetle
Mick Jagger - Aegrotocatellus Jaggeri, a trilobite
Beyoncé - Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae, a horse fly
Bill Gates - Eristalis gatesi, a flower fly
Elvis Presley - Preseucoila imallshookupis, agall wasp
The life stages of Gnathia marleyi are described in the June 6th issue of Zootaxia.