Bob Marley: Parasite Named After Legendary Musician


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The Bob Marley parasite, or, if you prefer, the "Gnathia marley", is a tiny, blood-sucking organism that is known to infect fish living on Caribbean coral reefs. Although may believe this isn't the most fitting homage to a musician who spent his life singing about peace, love and harmony, the man who named the aforementioned parasite probably meant no ill will towards the guy or his legion of devoted followers. Still, you have to admit it's a little weird.

Paul Sikkel, a marine biologist at Arkansas State University, reportedly discovered the blood sucker over a decade ago, though he just now got around to giving the parasite a name. Why Bob Marley? I'm not entirely sure. Sikkel may have meant it as an homage, but the response from Marley fans has been less than receptive. I guess they don't want to associate their hero with a creature that sucks fish blood all day. Understandable.

Then again, who's to say that Bob Marley wouldn't have been overwhelmingly flattered by the tribute paid by this reggae-loving marine biologist. Maybe the musician would have thought having a parasite named after him was the coolest thing on the planet. The guy was pretty open-minded about a lot of things, so perhaps he wouldn't have minded at all.

However, according to the blog Parasite of the Day, the naming of this particular parasite violates the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. In short, the name is invalid.

Marley isn't the first celebrity on the planet to have a creature named after them. John Cleese (Avahi cleesei), Harrison Ford (Calponia harrisonfordi and Pheidole harrisonfordi), Elvis Presley (Preseucoila imallshookupis), and Hugh Hefner (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri) have all enjoyed such an honor from the science community. If you're curious to see what folks on Twitter think about the Bob Marley parasite, take a peek at the comments below.