Jennifer Lopez, Pink Floyd, and other Celebrity Bugs

Earlier this month, scientists discovered a new species of water mite near Puerto Rico. They named it Litarachna lopezae — after Jennifer Lopez. The lead researcher saysit’s a mite-sized tribute to the lady behind his favorite hits, including ”I Luh Ya Papi” and “All I Have.”

Every year, tens of thousands of new species of creatures are identified, most of them little bugs and amphibians. Naming a species after oneself is considered a diva move in the scientific community, so many choose the next best thing: the name of a real-life diva — or a high-art heavy.

Here are some of our favorites.

Agra schwarzeneggeri

(AFP/Getty and Karie Darrow)

Agra schwarzeneggeri is a carabid beetle from Costa Rica, where the male sports an “enormously enlarged middle femur.” Entomologist Terry Erwinwas feeling witty during this expedition. His name for another beetle he found alongside this one: Agra vation.

Pinkfloydia harveii

Pink Floyd = Pinkfloydia harveii

Pinkfloydia harveii is a whole genus of “extraordinary” spiders from Western Australia, blessed with “very unusual morphological features.” Unless they’re very average, boring spiders, and the entomologists were tripping.

Tritonia khaleesi Vasconcelos

Khaleesi = Tritonia khaleesi Vasconcelos

(Macall B. Polay/HBO and Felipe de Vasconcelos Silva)

Tritonia khaleesi Vasconcelosis a delicate sea slug with bands resembling silver braids. “The species is one of the smallest sea slugs, just as Khaleesi is described (in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series) as small and juvenile,” write the scientists who found the slender creature off the coast of Brazil. Its luminescent color makes it less appetizing to predators, but most attractive to underwater photographers.

Aptostichus dorothealangeae

Dorothea Lange = Aptostichus dorothealangeae

These trapdoor spidersare getting harder to find, as development encroaches on their habit around Bakersfield, California. Named by Jason E. Bond, they’re not unlike the subjects of photojournalist Dorothea Lange’s series California at Last, which follows an Oklahoma family forced to leave its farm during the 1936 drought. She captures them picking cotton to collect money for food and gas, dealing with automobile break-downs, and sleeping in roadside camps on their way to Bakersfield.

Darwinilus sedarisi

David Sedaris = Darwinilus sedarisi

(Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images and Stylianos Chatzimanolis)

Darwin first found this beetle in 1832 on the coast of Argentina and took it back to London, but never got to categorizing it. It was collecting dust in London’s National History Museum until entomologist Stylianos Chatzimanolis noticed its unusual saw-toothed antennae. He was listening to David Sedaris’s audiobooks while preparing his specimens and named the beetle after the author. Sedaris’s book of animal tales, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, includes stories like “The Judicious Brown Chicken.”

Keatsia Girault

John Keats = Keatsia Girault

(Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images and Jeffrey W. Lotz,

Keatsia Girault is a parasitic wasp that was named by Alexandre Arsne Girault, one of the most prolific entomologists — he identified more than 3000 taxa over the course of his career. Girault not only named his wasps after poets like Dante, Emerson, and Goethe, he was also fond of inserting poetic statements into his papers: “Baocharis marlatti is Aphelinus subapterus. Liberty is Soul. Rhopalicus americanus is Spintherus pulchripennis.”

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