‘Scuba’ spider named after Bob Marley

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‘Scuba' spider named after Bob Marley

The 1970s reggae song “High Tide or Low Tide” has inspired three scientists to name a species of spider that can live under water Desis bobmarleyi – or Bob Marley's Intertidal Spider.

Spider experts Barbara Baehr, Robert Raven and Danilo Harms, affiliated to Australia's Queensland Museum and the University of Hamburg, announced the discovery of the curious water-dwelling arachnid last year.

It was popularly hailed as the “scuba-diving spider” because of its ability to use the long dreadlocks-like hair on its legs and abdomen to create an air-bubble around itself. This enables the spider to go on breathing for long periods while submerged.

Desis bobmarleyi lives in the intertidal zone on reefs, marine debris and under rocks, and the researchers were able to study two 6mm-long adult specimens they found on brain coral at Port Douglas in Queensland.

The tide was extremely low at the time on a coral reef that could often be more than 3m under water. The team said that they often played “High Tide or Low Tide” on their field-research trips.

The research is published in Evolutionary Systematics, and the study also redescribes a related species, Desis vorax, first described some 150 years ago on the Pacific island of Samoa.

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