There’s big news in the fight against invasive lionfish. This week, Representative Carlos Curbelo of Florida’s 26th District introduced a bill that would make more funding available for researchers studying lionfish in their invaded range. The bill directs the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to award $1,500,000 in higher education grants to combat lionfish, including projects that help us learn about lionfish impacts and how to mitigate them.
In honor of this newly-introduced bill, we pulled together a refresher course on the lionfish invasion. Read on to see how lionfish are impacting the ecosystem (and what people are doing about it!)
Bob Marley and Gnathia marleyi, the blood-sucking parasite named after him. Credit: Ueli Frey and John Artim, Department of Biology, Arkansas State University
Really? Yes, really.
A newly discovered crustacean parasite found in Caribbean waters has been named after Bob Marley, the iconic, rebellious and soccer-loving (among other things) Reggae singer and guitarist. The species, known as Gnathia marleyi, was named after Marley “because of my respect and admiration for Marley’s music. Plus, this species is uniquely Caribbean as was Marley,” according to Paul Sikkel, an assistant professor of marine ecology and a field marine biologist at Arkansas State University, who discovered the species.
So, just how similar to Marley is this tiny parasite? Let’s consider its eating habits:
“By concealing themselves within coral rubble, sea sponge or algae, juvenile Gnathia marleyi are able to launch surprise attacks on fish and then infest them.”
Yowsers! As a blogger and Bob Marley box set owner (and former Bob Marley black light poster owner) I am going to say, with some authority, that this crustacean is nothing like Bob Marley. But it’s still a pretty cool story.
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