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New bug species with 'wacky fashion sense' named after Lady Gaga

Caught in a bug romance.


Lady Gaga at a February performance.

Getty/Theo Wargo

This bug was born this way. A graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign discovered a new species of treehopper -- wacky-looking bugs with protruding features that look like horns, antlers, brightly colored flags or dead plant leaves, and that sing to each other by vibrating plant stems. And he decided to honor it with the name of another flamboyant shape-shifter: Lady Gaga

Meet Lady Gaga, the bug. 

L. Brian Stauffer

The insect, now called Kaikaia gaga, is a new genus of treehopper discovered after researchers studied insect samples collected about 30 years ago from a tropical forest near the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, according to student Brendan Morris and INHS entomologist Christopher Dietrich, who co-authored a paper about the new Gaga on the block in the journal Zootaxa

Kaikaia gaga is female, and has several distinct features including her face and leg hairs. The researchers were unable to extract DNA from this particular specimen, so Morris plans to travel to Nicaragua to try to find any other living species from the same forest where she was collected, according to a statement.

"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 said. "They're unlike anything you've ever seen before."