Lady Gaga has inspired the name of a new classification of treehopper, an insect whose bizarre appearance includes bright colors and bizarre protuberances that look like horns.
“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,” University of Illinois grad student Brendan Morris said. “They’re unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.”
Morris discovered the female treehopper, which he’s named Kaikaia gaga, while researching 1,000 specimens that were found nearly 30 years ago in a tropical forest near the coast of Nicaragua. It represents a new genus of treehopper.
“Also, the frontoclypeus, which is kind of like the face, was shaped totally different,” Morris said. “And the genitalia looked more like treehoppers from the Caribbean or this Old-World group, Beaufortianini.”
“Treehoppers are wacky, and I think that makes them especially suited to be spokesbugs for the wide range of habitats they use,” Morris said.
Morris wasn’t able to extract DNA from the insect, but he plans to visit Nicaragua in hopes of finding other living K. gaga in the tropical forest where the original was collected.