KINGSTON, Jamaica (July 11, 2012)--A tiny blood-sucking parasite that infests fish on Caribbean coral reefs has been named for the late Jamaican reggae icon Bob Marley.
Arkansas State University marine biologist Paul Sikkel discovered the parasite a decade ago off the U.S. Virgin Islands, but it was only recently unveiled as "Gnathia marleyi" in homage to the singer.
Sikkel says he dubbed the tiny crustacean because of 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.
Insects have been named for such celebrities as comedian Stephen Colbert and singer Beyonce.