Photo by John Artim, Department of Biology, Arkansas State University.

This little guy, a parasitic coral reef crustacean called a gnathiid, now has something in common with that one dog in that movie and a printer in the Glamour art department: He’s named after Bob Marley.

The gnathiid isn’t constantly jamming, and it doesn’t have dreads or smoke weed or make terrific music that is constantly subjected to insipid covers by college boys at open mics. Basically all Gnathia marleyi has in common with the reggae singer is that they’re both from the Caribbean, and marine ecologist Paul Sikkel likes them both. Although I prefer the theory that it’s because “gnathiid” is spelled with I and I.

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G. marleyi is parasitic — it hides in coral, sponges, and algae, then latches on to unsuspecting fish and infests them. Once they reach adulthood, gnathiids stop eating (which indicates that they definitely don’t smoke weed), and they live just long enough to reproduce. Once. In short, it’s a lot less fun being G. marleyi than it was being B. Marley.

Last time we got a funny new species name — Scaptia beyonceaethe fly with the golden butt — I provided a list of other species named after celebrities. I like it, so here it is again:

  • Agaporomorphus colberti, a beetle with “complicated” male genitalia named after Stephen Colbert;
  • Psephophorus terrypratchetti, an ancient turtle named after Terry Pratchett, who did so much for turtle visibility;
  • Strigiphilus garylarsoni, a biting louse named for Gary Larson;
  • Agathidium bushi, Agathidium cheneyi, and Agathidium rumsfeldi, beetles named after Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld (presumably toxic);
  • Four species (two plants, a dinosaur, and an echidna) named after David Attenborough, who totally deserves it;
  • And four species (mollusk, spider, jellyfish, plant) AND AN ENTIRE GENUS (of mudskippers) named after Frank Zappa.

Conclusion: Scientists have good senses of humor, listen to music from the 70s, and … are Republicans? Maybe we shouldn’t read too much into this.

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