Now a pontarachnid mite species that is new to science has been named after the famous Puerto Rican singer Jennifer Lopez.
The mite, named Litarachna lopezae, was collected from Bajo de Sico, a mesophotic coral reef ecosystem in Mona Passage off of Puerto Rico, and it has been described in the journal ZooKeys.
“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 World Cup Soccer 2014,” explained lead author Vladimir Pešić from the University of Montenegro.
Pontarachnid mites represent a widely distributed but still unstudied group of marine animals. In fact, nothing is known about the life cycle of these animals. The new mite species was collected from water that was nearly 70 meters deep, the greatest depth from which pontarachnid mites have been found until now.
Mesophotic coral ecosystems, like Bajo de Sico where the new species was found, are light-dependent habitats dominated by macroalgae, sponges, and scleractinian corals, and they are found on the insular and continental slopes of Caribbean islands. Even at the lower depth range (70-100 meters), there is enough light for photosynthesis to take place, enhancing the growth of several scleractinian coral species and algae.
Lila Downs and Jennifer Lopez now join the likes of singers Beyonce, who had a horse fly called Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae named after her, and Shakira, who had a wasp called Aleiodes shakirae named after her.
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