Scientists in Florida have discovered several new species of wasp in recent weeks, and one of them will forever be known by a name subtly familiar to any baseball fan: Diolcogaster ichiroi.
Yep, the wasp is named after Ichiro Suzuki, the future Hall of Fame baseball player who spent the last three seasons with the Miami Marlins.
According to MLB.com, the Diolcogaster ichiroi got its name thanks to Jose Fernandez-Triana, a researcher at the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes, who discovered the species and named it after a favorite player.
Here’s how Fernandez-Triana explained the etymology of the wasp’s name in an article published on Zoo Keys:
This unique and remarkable species is named to honor the truly unique and remarkable Ichiro Suzuki, my favorite baseball player and one the best ever to play the game. At the time the research for this paper was being conducted, Ichiro was still playing for a Florida team and thus naming a species endemic from Florida after him made complete sense. Unfortunately, the new owners of the Miami Marlins did not keep Ichiro, an unpopular decision not liked by many Marlins fans. Hopefully soon another Major League team gives the Universal Hit King the chance to continue his extraordinary career in baseball.
In case you want to go hunting for the Ichiro-inspired wasp, it is mostly yellow with brown spots and found exclusively in South Florida.
As Fernandez-Triana points out, Ichiro will likely be leaving Miami, given the Marlins’ choice not to re-sign him, but thanks to the wasp bearing his name, his presence will remain in the region nonetheless.