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Scientists name tiny sea creature after pop singer

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Pop singer Jennifer Lopez may be thinking life is funny after a group of scientists named a water mite in her honor after discovering a new species near Puerto Rico.

The music of the Bronx, N.Y.-born entertainer who has Puerto Rican roots was a hit with the group while they wrote about their findings, biologist Vladimir Pesic said in an email Wednesday.

“The reason behind the unusual choice of name for the new species is … simple: J.Lo‘s songs and videos kept the team in a continuous good mood when writing the manuscript and watching World Cup Soccer 2014,” said Pesic, who works at the University of Montenegro.

Jennifer Lopez performs at the 2014 World Cup opening ceremony in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Scientists recently honored the entertainer by naming a newly discovered water mite after her.  (Frank Augstein / The Associated Press)

Jennifer Lopez performs at the 2014 World Cup opening ceremony in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Scientists recently honored the entertainer by naming a newly discovered water mite after her. (Frank Augstein / The Associated Press)

Pesic calls it a small token of gratitude for the singer of hits such as “Ain’t It Funny,” “I Luh Ya Papi” and his personal favorite, “All I Have.”

He’s the corresponding author of the study that was published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed online journal ZooKeys.

Pesic and other scientists collected the newly baptized Litarachna lopezae mite from a coral reef in Mona Passage, a treacherous body of water that separates Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The species was found at a depth of nearly 230 feet, the greatest depth that pontarachnid mites have been found until now, according to their study.

The mites were collected during a series of trips from 2010 to 2012 organized by the University of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute.

Over the years, scientists have named dozens of organisms after famous people to honor them. Mick Jagger, for example, has a type of trilobite named after him, while one spider was named after Bono and a marine parasite found only in the Caribbean was named after Bob Marley.

Pesic said that while he and other scientists rooted for different teams during the World Cup, they found common ground with Lopez.

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