Newly discovered crustacean species named for Bob Marley

Arkansas State University marine biologist and Bob Marley fan Paul Sikkel named the tiny Caribbean blood-feeding parasite Gnathia marleyi.

Elizabeth Brill/National Science Foundation/Reuters
A Caribbean fish, known as the French grunt, that is infested with gnathiids is pictured in this handout photo supplied by the National Science Foundation. The late reggae musician Bob Marley has given his name to a species of parasitic crustacean that infests fish in Caribbean coral reefs. The species is now known as Gnathia marleyi.

A tiny blood-sucking parasite that infests fish on Caribbean coral reefs has been named after Jamaican reggae icon Bob Marley.

Arkansas State University marine biologist Paul Sikkel discovered the parasite off the U.S. Virgin Islands a decade ago but it was only recently unveiled as "Gnathia marleyi" as an homage to the singer.

Sikkel says he dubbed the tiny crustacean due to his "respect and admiration" for Marley, who died in 1981.

The National Science Foundation says the creature is a new species within the family of gnathiids, parasites commonly found on coral reefs that are ecologically similar to blood-sucking ticks on land. It infests some fish that inhabit reefs of the shallow eastern Caribbean.

Celebrities such as comedian Stephen Colbert and singer Beyonce have had insects named after them.

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