Parrot-heads, celebrate: New isopod discovered in Florida Keys named for you-know-who.

PhysOrg introduces us to Gnathia jimmybuffetti, a little marine mystery-bug (or literally, “cryptofauna”) related to roly-poly pillbugs but named for that fella still looking for his lost shaker of salt:

The roughly three-millimeter-long isopod is one of only 15 species from the genus Gnathia currently known in the region.

The newly discovered species, Gnathia jimmybuffetti, which is a member of a group of crustaceans called gnathiid isopods, were collected using light traps set in shallow water and characterized using photomicrographs and genetic sequencing.

“Upon examination, it was determined to be a species that was previously unknown to science,” said senior investigator Paul Sikkel, a research professor in the Department of Marine Biology and Ecology at the Rosenstiel School [of the University of Miami]. “It’s the first new Florida gnathiid to be discovered in 100 years.”

“By naming a species after an artist, we want to promote the integration of the arts and sciences,” said Sikkel, whose research team named a similar species from the Caribbean after Bob Marley (Gnathia marleyi).

The researchers emphasize that while these organisms have a parasitic lifestyle, they are in no way likening these artists, whom they admire and respect, to parasites.

You can read more about the joint UM and North-West University Water Research Group, South Africa, discovery here, in the Bulletin of Marine Science.