Gnathia marleyi

In the San Francisco Chronicle

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — A tiny blood-sucking parasite that infests fish on Caribbean coral reefs has been named after Jamaican 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 an homage to the singer. Sikkel says he dubbed the tiny crustacean due to his “respect and admiration” for Marley, who died in 1981.


In the National Science Foundation press release –

Paul Sikkel, an assistant professor of marine ecology and a field marine biologist at Arkansas State University, discovered and just named after Marley a “gnathiid isopod”–a small parasitic crustacean blood feeder that infests certain fish that inhabit the coral reefs of the shallow eastern Caribbean. Sikkel named the species Gnathia marleyi.

All of the life stages of Gnathia marleyi are described by Sikkel and his research team in the June 6th issue of Zootaxa. This research was partly funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Sikkel said, “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 was Marley.”

Of course, as always, the Daily Mail takes the recherché biscuit for shoehorned Royal tie-ins –

The naming, announced in scientific journal Zootaxa, comes less than a week after it emerged that a new species of frog had been named after the [Prince] of Wales.

.A letter from Patrick McClellan of UC Berkeley to USA Today to-day [and note these spelling corrections thereto : Carole KingArcticalymene viciousi, Dicrotendipes thanatogratus] –

Hardly news. Celebrity patronyms abound in biology. (Not all scientists are serious types in white lab coats, ya’ know.) And musicians are ripe namesakes. Avalanchurus simoni and A. garfunkeli (sibling species of trilobites) and Aegrotocatellus jaggeri (Mick has several species to his name, the genus name here means “sick puppy”, it’s another trilobite…named by the same scientist). Amaurotoma zappa and Anomphalus jaggerius (fossil snails), Anacroneuria carole and A. taylor (sibling species of stonefly, for Carol King and JT), Arcticalymene visciousi (after Sid, also by that trilobite scientist guy). Bachiana, Beethovena and Bishopina mozarti, and Fernandocrambus chopinellus. Bushiella beatlesi with Avalanchurus lennoni and A. starri. Campsicnemus charliechaplini (yes, a musician as well, Smile…when your heart is blah blah). Cirolana mercuryi (a pill bug, for Freddie). Dichrotendipes thanatogratus (that last part, ‘Grateful Dead’ in Latin, a graptolite). This one’s great (okay, dumb taxonomist humor): Funkotriplogynium iagobadius for James Brown — Iago is “James” and badius is “brown” in Latin. And I haven’t even worked my way out of the F’s yet. Musta been a slow day at USA Today.

The Grateful Dead bug, Dicrotendipes thanatogratus Epler










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2 responses to “Gnathia marleyi

  1. I’m wondering where you got the picture of Dicrotendipes thanatogratus? It doesn’t really look like it. The text states “a graptolite” – actually, it’s a midge (a kind of small fly). {note – I’m the guy who described the species}. Also note that the journal mentioned in the story is Zootaxa, not Zootaxia. Thanks …

  2. Q


    It was obtained from Google Images. [Now revised and replaced.] The “-tax[i]a” material was from a couple of quoted items, but I’ve corrected the form on your advice. Thanks for passing the specialised knowledge on. Cheers, ~Q~


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