New Species of Spider Named For Bob Marley

Does this spider live in the Concrete Jungle?
New Species of Spider Named For Bob Marley

In high seas or low seas
I’m going to be your friend
I’m going to be your friend
High tide or low tide
I’ll be by your side
I’ll be by your side

These words of unity in the face of adversity, from the song High Tide or Low Tide by the legendary Bob Marley, have led an international team of researchers to name a newly discovered species of spider after the reggae superstar.

“The song ‘High Tide or Low Tide’ promotes love and friendship through all struggles of life,” according to Dr. Barbara Baehr, an arachnologist with the Queensland Museum and member of the group that made the discovery.

New Species of Spider Named For Bob Marley
Robert Raven

The spider, dubbed Desis bobmarleyi, was first collected in 2009 from the intertidal zone along the northeastern shore of Queensland, Australia. This ecosystem is a challenging habitat that cycles from exposed shoreline at low tide to water up to 18 feet deep when the tide is high, and further inspired the scientists to honor Marley.

As the tide rises, D. bobmarleyi uses silk to seal itself into small air pockets in the rocks, coral, and seaweed that make up its home. Once submerged, the spider can continue to breathe, safely tucked inside the bubble of air it has trapped. At low tide it emerges to hunt, catching prey such as small invertebrates with its large fangs.

Dr. Baehr is also one of the authors of a paper describing the new species in the life science journal Evolutionary Systematics, which was published in December 2017. She told that the researchers, all Bob Marley fans, were listening to his music on the night the live specimens were captured. Her colleague, Dr. Danilo Harms of the Center for Natural History (CeNak) in Hamburg, Germany, suggested the name for the discovery.

Dr. Baehr said the name is “a symbol for working and struggling together for a surprising outcome.”

The team has proposed “Bob Marley’s Intertidal Spider” as the common name for the new species.

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