A graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently discovered a new species of tree rheumatoid – an insect that looks like antlers, bright flags or dead plant leaves with a “weird fashion” look. So he decided to name it after lady Gaga, the fashion geek.
According to student Brendan Morris and INHS entomologist Christopher Dietrich, the insect is now known as Kaikaia gaga and is thought to be a new species of tree slug. Researchers collected samples of the insect from tropical forests off Nicaragua’s Pacific coast about 30 years ago. The researchers published a paper on Kaikaia Gaga in the journal Zootaxa.
Kaikaia Gaga is a female insect with some obvious features, including her head and leg knots. The researchers said in a statement that DNA could not be extracted from the particular specimen, so Morris planned to travel to Nicaragua to try to find other biological species from the same forest that collected her.
“If there’s a Lady Gaga insect, it’s a tree-top, because they have these crazy tentacles, which gives them a quirky sense of fashion,” says Morris. They’re different from anything you’ve seen before. “