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article imageNew species of microscopic marine mite named after Jennifer Lopez

By Igor I. Solar     Jul 16, 2014 in Science
Mayaguez - A new species of marine mite found in a Caribbean coral reef of Mona Passage, which separates Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic, has been named “Litarachna lopezae” in honor of Puerto Rican singer Jennifer Lopez.
The newly discovered mite belongs to the family of arthropods called Pontarachnidae, also known as "water mites". Pontarachnidae species are found mostly in freshwater, but are also present in marine habitats. The new species of mite described was named "Litarachna lopezae”. The specimens were found at a depth of about 70 meters in an ecosystem of mesophotic coral reefs in the Mona Passage off Puerto Rico. This is the deepest location where these types of animals have been located so far.
Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems (MCEs), also known as mesophotic reefs, are located on the continental and insular slopes of Caribbean islands at depths below 30 to 100 meters. These marine habitats are characterized by the low availability of light for photosynthesis. The dominant organisms in the community are corals, sponges and algae. Scientific information on MCEs is scarce due to difficulties of working at depths beyond the range of conventional SCUBA diving.
The new marine mite species found off Puerto Rico is very small, and definitely not as pretty as the famous Puerto Rican singer. According to the description in the research paper, the males and females measure about 270 micrometers (0.27 millimeters).
The paper by researchers from the University of Montenegro, Podgorica, the Indian School of Learning, Jharkhand, India, and the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, PR, USA, is titled "A new species of Litarachna (Acari, Hydrachnidia, Pontarachnidae) from a Caribbean mesophotic coral ecosystem", and was published on July 15, 2014, in the Journal ZooKeys.
In the publication the authors explain that this species is named after the famous Puerto Rican singer Jennifer Lopez. Although Jennifer Lopez was born in New York, her parents, Guadalupe Rodriguez and David Lopez, are Puerto Rican.
More about Water mite, Litarachna lopezae, Puerto rico, Mona Passage, Jennifer lopez
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