Published On: Wed, Jul 11th, 2012

Move over President Obama, it’s Bob Marley’s turn to have a parasite named after him

Just a few months ago, President Obama received quite the honor. No I’m not talking about the Nobel Peace Prize, he had a parasite named after him: Paragordius obamai

Photo/Eddie Mallin via Wikimedia Commons

Now the late reggae master, Bob Marley is the newest celebrity to have the same honor bestowed upon him.

According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), Paul Sikkel, an assistant professor of marine ecology and a field marine biologist at Arkansas State University, discovered and just named after Marley a “gnathiid isopod”–a small parasitic crustacean blood feeder that infests certain fish that inhabit the coral reefs of the shallow eastern Caribbean. Sikkel named the species Gnathia marleyi.

All of the life stages of Gnathia marleyi are described by Sikkel and his research team in the July 6th issue of Zootaxia.

Sikkel said, “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.”

Gnathia marleyi is a new species within the gnathiid family, and the first new species to be described in the Caribbean in more than two decades.

By concealing themselves within coral rubble, sea sponge or algae, juvenile Gnathia marleyi are able to launch surprise attacks on fish and then infest them. Sikkel explained that adult gnathiids do not feed at all. “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.”

There have been increasing numbers of reports that the health of Caribbean coral reef communities is declining due to diseases. “We are currently researching the relationships between the health of coral reef communities and gnathiid populations,” said Sikkel.

“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,” Sikkel said.

Read more in the NSF press release dated July 9

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Bernie Sanders, Leonardo DiCaprio have spiders named after them | The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Former President Barack Obama has two parasites named after him, while the late reggae star, Bob Marley had the honor of being the namesake of a new crustacean.  […]

  2. What do Edward Snowden and Barack Obama have in common? - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Also in 2012, researchers at Arkansas State University discovered a small parasitic crustacean in the Caribbean and named it Gnathia marleyi, after none other than late reggae master, Bob Marley. […]

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