Bob Marley has just joined the ranks of well-known individuals who have species named after them: scientist Paul Sikkel discovered a "gnathiid isopod" - a small parasitic crustacean - and named it 'Gnathia marleyi' after the famous musician.
In the latest issue of 'Zootaxa', Sikkel says he "named this species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my respect and admiration for Marley's music". He also points out that "this species is as uniquely Caribbean as was Marley" - the 'Gnathia marleyi' infests certain fish that inhabit the coral reefs of the shallow eastern Caribbean.
It may not seem like the most flattering creature to be named after, since gnathiid isopods are bloodsuckers like ticks or mosquitoes on land. But, Sikkel says, "they are also the most important food item for cleaner fishes and thus key to understanding marine cleaning symbioses". Gnathia marleyi is the first new species to be described in the Caribbean in more than two decades.
A documentary about Bob Marley's life, 'Marley: The Movie', recently hit theatres (on 4/20 of this year, surprisingly enough). Directed by Kevin McDonald, it tells "the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom", according to the film's website.
To celebrate Bob joining the group of luminaries who have had a species named after them (Barack Obama, Elvis Presley, and Bill Gates are three others who have received the honour), here are some choice Marley tunes:
Iron Lion Zion
Who The Cap Fit
Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)
Time Will Tell
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