The mite was discovered near Puerto Rico in a coral reef called Bajo de Saco located in Mona Passage. The JLo mite has been given the official name of Litarachna lopezae and was found 70 meters down in the reef–the deepest ever for a pontarachnid mite discovery.
Unlike Jennifer Lopez, very little is known about the life cycle of these particular mites. However, the naming of the mite isn’t because of any direct link between the singer and the animal, although I do see some resemblance based on the picture above.
While JLo’s parents may be Puertorican, the reason for the JLo reference is down to the scientists who made the discovery. They regularly listened to her music while writing their manuscript about the mite and watching the World Cup 2014, and it kept them in a good mood and well motivated. With that in mind, Litarachna lopezae seemed like a fitting name as a way of saying thank you.
Jennifer Lopez shouldn’t feel too special about having a new species after her, though, as it’s becoming quite common to base them on celebrity names. Mick Jagger has a trilobite named after him (Aegrotocatellus), Arnold Schwarzenegger has a carabid beetle (Agra schwarzeneggeri), Lila Downs has a grasshopper (Liladownsia fraile), and Beyonce has a horse fly (Scaptia beyonceae).
[Image courtesy of Ana Carolina Clay Vita on Flickr]