Earlier this month, a Caribbean blood-sucking parasite made headlines when given the name Gnathia marleyi, after late singer Bob Marley. The new species could help scientists figure out how diseases are spread through fish in the Caribbean, but it doesn't really bear much resemblance to the famous reggae singer. Except, of course, that "this species is uniquely Caribbean as was Marley," explained Paul Sikkel, the field marine biologist at Arkansas State University who discovered Marleyi.
Gnathia marleyi isn't the first species given a name of fame. Here are five more species with celebrity titles:
1. Eristalis gatesi, named after the great Microsoft giant Bill Gates. Also known as the Bill Gates Flower Fly.
2. Agra schwarzeneggeri, a species of beetle named after "governator" Arnold Schwarzenegger. Why? The bulging biceps look uncannily alike.
3. Crikey steveirwini. Yep, you guessed it. This rare tree snail species in Australia was named after the beloved Aussie "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin and his catch-phrase. Only found in three places in Queensland, Crikey's shell is a swirl of khaki-like color reminiscent of The Crocodile Hunter's own khaki garb.
4. Scaptia (plinthina) beyonceae. With a golden rear end, this is a house fly too "bootylicious" to be called by any other name than Beyonce.
5. And of course, we can't leave out John Muir. The Sierra Club founder has quite a few species named after him, namely a butterfly he collected in the Sierras called the Thecla muirii.
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--image by istockphoto/Vah
--Allison Montroy is an editorial intern for Sierra and a journalism student at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.