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Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

What would you want named after you?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Add Bob Marley to the long list of celebrities that have species named after them.

It's called Gnathia Marleyi, and it's a blood-sucking parasite that lives in coral reefs and sneakily infests fish.

"I named this species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my respect and admiration for Marley's music," said Paul Sikkel, an Arkansas State University assistant professor of biology and field marine biologist. "Plus, this species is as uniquely Caribbean as was Marley."

Whether or not this should be considered a compliment is not the point. Sikkel probably does not get to name a species every day, so when he got the chance to pay tribute to one of his favorite musicians, he took it.

In doing so, he followed the lead of at least a couple dozen other species discoverers.

Most of the species bearing celebrity names or references are insects. Two of the most notable are a wasp named Preseucoila Imallshookupis, in reference to none other than the king of rock and roll, and a horsefly with a golden butt named after Beyoncé.

Some scientists tried to make a statement with the celebrity naming of their species.

For example, when researchers named a beetle after Kate Winslet, they noted her "Titanic" character "did not go down with the ship, but we will not be able to say the same for this elegant canopy species, if all the rain forest is converted to pastures."

Others are a bit laughable, such as the species of bunny named after Hugh Hefner, a woolly lemur named after John Cleese and two different types of bugs named after political comedian Stephen Colbert.

After perusing this list, I started to think about what species I would want named after me.

If it includes my last name, Licht, I'd prefer it not be an insect or snake because who would want to lick either of those? Who would want that kind of confusion?

With that in mind, why not something with a long tongue like a rare giraffe or lizard?

Or, the species namer could go back to the German meaning of Licht and use it to describe something that lights up or gives the appearance of light.

I'm not sure if Gabe or Gabriel would fit into a species name as well, but if someone did it, I probably wouldn't complain.

And if they followed Sikkel's lead and named me after a bloodsucker?

Why not?

I'd rather have it named after me than after a character from a vampire saga.



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Gabe Licht
Junior Moments