A new species of marine spider that only emerges at low tide in Australia has been named after the reggae music legend Bob Marley.
The species was first discovered in January 2009 when the sea along the coast of Queensland receded and revealed a population of water-adapted spiders.
Researchers described the species as new to science – and were quick to associate their emergence with Bob Marley’s 1973 song ‘High Tide Or Low Tide’.
The new spider species, pictured, was discovered when the sea receded in Queensland and revealed a large population of water-adapted spiders
Researchers described the spiders, pictured, as completely new to science as they had adapted to ‘truly marine’ life along the Great Barrier Reef on the northeastern coast of Queensland
BOB MARLEY SPIDER
Desis bobmarleyi is the scientific label given to the intertidal spider named after reggae legend Bob Marley
The new species of marine spider only appear at low tide
During high tide the spiders hide in coral or seaweed
Female spiders are larger in size but both are red-brown colours
A study into the Bob Marley intertidal spider – listed scientifically as Desis bobmarleyi – recently published its findings in the journal of Evolutionary Systematics.
The research was based on both male and female specimens that were spotted and collected from brain coral on the night they emerged eight years ago.
Study co-author Dr Barbara Baehr said the intertidal spiders have adapted to the underwater life by hiding in barnacle shells, corals or kelp holdfast during high tide.
She said: ‘To breathe, they build air chambers from silk.
‘Once the sea water recedes, though, they are out and about hunting small invertebrates that roam the surfaces of the nearby rocks, corals and plants.’
Dr Baehr, of Queensland Museum, said both sexes are characterised by predominantly red-brown colours, while their legs are orange-brown and covered with a dense layer of long, thin and dark grey hair-like structures.
She said the females appear to be larger in size with the studied specimen measuring nearly 9mm, whereas the male was about 6mm long.
Unlike the spiders that people are typically familiar with, the intertidal species are ‘truly marine,’ researchers explained.
The exact regions where the spiders live remain unknown but the research recorded the species from the intertidal zones of the Great Barrier Reef on the northeastern coast of Queensland.
Researchers were quick to associate the new spider, pictured right, with Bob Marley, pictured left, and the reggae legend’s 1973 song ‘High Tide Or Low Tide’
Explaining the decision to name the spiders after Bob Marley, Dr Baehr said:
‘The song ‘High Tide or Low Tide’ promotes love and friendship through all struggles of life.
‘It is his [Bob Marley] music that aided a field trip to Port Douglas in coastal Queensland, Australia to collect spiders with a highly unique biology.’