Arkansas State University marine biologist Paul Sikkel discovered the parasite off the U.S. Virgin Islands a decade ago but it was only recently unveiled as "Gnathia marleyi" as an homage to the singer.
Sikkel says he dubbed the tiny crustacean due to his "respect and admiration" for Marley, who died in 1981.
The National Science Foundation says the creature is a new species within the family of gnathiids, parasites commonly found on coral reefs that are ecologically similar to blood-sucking ticks on land. It infests some fish that inhabit reefs of the shallow eastern Caribbean.
Celebrities such as comedian Stephen Colbert and singer Beyonce have had insects named after them.