J-Lo has a tiny Caribbean mite named in her honour

Actor’s songs and videos ’kept researchers in a good mood’ when writing paper

Tiny mite has been named Litarachna lopezae after the singer

Tiny mite has been named Litarachna lopezae after the singer

Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 11:02

If a species were to be named after you, what would you like it to be? A gazelle maybe? Or a beautiful orchid? Perhaps an interesting frog or a splendid butterfly?

Singer Jennifer Lopez has just had a newly discovered species named after her, but it is none of the above. It’s a pontarachnid mite that was found in the Caribbean.

The creature turned up in a survey of organisms collected from Bajo de Sico, off Puerto Rico. Drawn from a “mesophotic coral ecosystem” that depends on light for photosynthesis to support the inhabitants, the tiny mite is now named Litarachna lopezae after the singer.

“The reason behind the unusual choice of name for the new species is that J-Lo’s songs and videos kept the team in a continuous good mood when writing the manuscript and watching the World Cup of soccer,” says Vladimir Peši from the University of Montenegro.

He is the first author on a paper in Zoo Keys that describes in detail the mite specimens, which were collected from a depth of 69.5m, making it “the greatest depth from which pontarachnid mites have been found until now”, note the authors.

The Zoo Keys paper also describes a female specimen of a “tentative new species” of mite but offers no clues as to who might get the honour of lending their name to it.