By Tamira Smith, EnStarz | Jul 11, 2012 01:24 PM EDT
Legendary reggae artist Bob Marley has been honored in a unique way. A marine biologist recently discovered a small parasite, which he named "Gnathia marleyi."
Although some fans might take offense to the blood-sucking parasite being named after the singer-songwriter, Paul Sikkel, an assistant professor in marine biology at Arkansas State University, insists that it isn't intended to be disrespectful. He purposely named the species after the icon because of his appreciation for Marley.
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"I named this species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my respect and admiration for Marley's music," Sikkel told FoxNews.com. "Plus, this species is as uniquely Caribbean as was Marley."
The recently discovered species belong to a family of parasites called gnathiids. This line of parasites are ocean-based analogs that hide in corals and attack fish. These tiny organisms are similar to blood-sucking ticks and disease-carrying mosquitoes, according to the LATimes. Despite their small size, they are the most important food source for cleaner fish, which eat them off the skin of other fish.
These little organisms are reportedly blamed for diseases in the Caribbean coral community. The US National Science Foundation says that there has been a substantial amount of reports that Caribbean coral communities are declining due to disease.
With his new honor, Bob can now join an elite group of other legends who have had a species named after them. One of the biggest rock 'n' roll artist of all time, Elvis Presley, has a wasp named after him. Technology guru, Bill Gates, has a flower fly named in his honor, and President Barack Obama has a lichen species that shares his last name. President George W. Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger and The Beatles, all have beetles named after them.
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