Earlier this month, scientists discovered quite the extravagant looking species of treehopper. So, quite appropriately, they named the bug after Lady Gaga!
The Insect Named After Lady Gaga
If you’ve ever wanted to discover and name an animal, this one is for you! Recently, Zootaxa, a peer-reviewed scientific journal on animal taxonomy, published a paper detailing the discovery of a new species of treehopper. It looked so incredible that the researchers knew just who to name her after: Lady Gaga!
The bug, Kaikaia gaga, looks just as exciting and bizarre as her namesake. And, just like the singer, she is one of a kind. In fact, all treehoppers are! Each species features its own splash of color, and no two are alike! These little known-about insects populate most forests, but many know nothing about them. However, scientists are hoping that Kaikaia gaga can change all of that!
An Important Discovery
Of course, there’s much more to learn about the insect than just its looks, says Brendan Morris, an entomology graduate student at the University of Illinois. Morris actually discovered the creature, and therefore decided its scientific name. As you can see in the photo, Kaikaia gaga has pointy horns and a unique body structure. According to Morris, Morris, the insect’s body shape resembles “Old World” creatures, found in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Meanwhile, Morris discovered the Kaikaia gaga on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. Hopefully, the find will help researchers understand more about continental drift and how animals ended up where they did!
Morris shared he wanted the insect’s finding to receive as much attention and publicity as possible, so he chose Gaga’s name. “If there is going to be a Lady Gaga bug, it’s going to be a treehopper, because they’ve got these crazy horns, they have this wacky fashion sense about them,” Morris also said. “They’re unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.”
So Much More To Learn
There are over 3,500 species of treehoppers, and they are an essential part of each forests’ ecosystem. “It blows my kind that a group that is roughly 40 million years old has so much diversity of form – diversity, I would argue, that we don’t see in any other family of insects,” Morris said in an interview with CNN.
The discovery of the insect was major, but researchers still know very little about the Kaikaia gaga. For example, they don’t know what the males look like, how they interact with each other in general or while mating, or how they interact with other animals. Hopefully sooner rather than later, Morris will travel to the Kaikaia gaga‘s original habitat in Nicaragua and find answers to all of these intriguing questions, and many more.
As of this writing, Lady Gaga herself hasn’t responded to the discovery and naming, but we are sure that once she does, it will be magnificent.