Romanian university names new blood-sucking insect after tennis star Simona Halep

Simona Halep has won two Grand Slams, countless other titles and millions of fans in her long career on the tennis court.


She can now add a blood-sucking insect to her resume.

A Romanian university announced Monday it had named a brand new insect after the tennis champion calling it   “an honor.”

The Cluj University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine said the new six-legged creature had been discovered in the county of Constanta, southeast Romania.

Simona Halep, currently WTA 13 is a native of the Black Sea port of Constanta. She apparently has approved the new insect named after her.


The creature has been baptized “phlebotomus simonahalepae,” the tennis player, reported Monday.

The insect was discovered by researchers from the European Center for the Prevention and Disease Control in Canaraua Fetii near the Bulgarian border.

The results of the study were published in in the August edition of medical journal Parasites & Vectors.

“We are dedicating this scientific discovery to Simona Halep. It is a sign of honor and appreciation for her performances and for how she spreads the Romania’s name throughout the world. This is what we are trying to do as researchers,” said the coordinator of the study, professor Andrei Mihalca.

Completely different

Researcher Cristina Pop said the new creature had been discovered in 2018 “among hundreds of others, we noticed one that was completely different.”

She said further research revealed it came from a previously unknown sub-species,

“We only had a single specimen, so we didn’t publish anything, and we tried to collect other examples” for the next two years without success. “It’s a newly discovered species.”


The insect belongs to a group of hematophagous or blood-sucking insects which are usually found in warm climates.

Some species spread diseases from animals to humans. Eight different species were observed between 1910 and 1970.

Research by the Cluj University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine has confirmed six species plus the new Simona Halep species.

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