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SpongeBob Marley? Reggae Icon Gets Coral Reef Species Named After Him

Bob Marley, Parasite Tolca/Sunshine/ZumaPress.com

There's a Rastaman Vibration going on under the sea.

Late reggae maestro Bob Marley has just been reincarnated as a new species of blood-feeding fish parasite, which was just discovered in coral reefs in his beloved Caribbean.

So what's the little critter called?

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Gnathia marleyi.

"I named this species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my respect and admiration for Marley's music. Plus, this species is as uniquely Caribbean as Marley," said Paul Sikkel, a marine biologist at Arkansas State University and the parasite's discoverer, in a statement released by the National Science Foundation.

Sikkel happened upon the small crustacean isopod 10 years ago residing in various coral nooks and crannies in and around the U.S. Virgin Islands. G. marleyi infests certain fish that inhabit reefs in that region by concealing themselves within coral rubble, sea sponge or algae. Just think of them as the ocean versions of ticks or mosquitos, according to the scientist.

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And being a big Bob fan, Sikkel couldn't resist honoring his musical hero, who died of cancer in 1981.

Marley joins a growing list of celebrities including comedian Stephen Colbert, Elvis Presley, Bill Gates and President Barack Obama who have a genus named in their honor.

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