KINGSTON — A tiny blood-sucking parasite that infests fish on Caribbean coral reefs has been named after 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 homage to the late singer.
Sikkel said he gave the tiny crustacean the name due to his “respect and admiration” for Marley, who died in 1981.
The National Science Foundation said 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.
Insects have been named for other celebrities such as singer Beyonce and comedian Stephen Colbert.