New Marine Spider Species Reminds Discoverers of Bob Marley

Live image of a male individual of the new marine spider species Desis bobmarleyi. (R. Raven)

(CN) – Researchers have named a newly discovered species of marine spider after an unlikely inspiration: reggae legend Bob Marley.

Reporting Friday in the journal Evolutionary Systematics, a team of researchers explain how the spider, which emerges when ocean waters recede, instantly reminded them of Marley’s song, “High Tide or Low Tide.”

The spider, which the team named Desis bobmarleyi, is distinct from many commonly known spiders due to its ability to survive underwater.

D. bobmarleyi has adapted to living in the ocean by concealing itself in barnacle shells, kelp or coral during high tide. The spider builds air chambers from silk to breathe.

As ocean waters retreat, the spider emerges to hunt small invertebrates that inhabit nearby coral, rocks and plants.

The species is described based on male and female specimens the team collected from brain coral along the intertidal zones of the Great Barrier Reef on the northeastern coast of Queensland, Australia. The distribution range of the spider remains unknown.

Both sexes are predominantly red-brown, while their legs are orange-brown and are coated with a dense layer of thin, long and dark gray hair-like structures. Based on the specimens studied, females appear to be larger than males – 0.9 centimeters and 0.6 centimeters, respectively.

Beyond the connection between the spider’s tide-based habits and Marley’s song, the team was inspired to name the new species after the reggae legend due to the positive messages featured in his music.

“The song ‘High Tide or Low Tide’ promotes love and friendship through all struggles of life,” the authors write. “He took to music, not nature, but left traces through songs that teach optimism and independence of the mind, rather than hate and passive endurance.

“It is his music that aided a field trip to Port Douglas in coastal Queensland, Australia, to collect spiders with a highly unique biology.”

 

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