A recently discovered ladybug acts like a turtle, as it hides its head into its throat. The insect set the frame for not only a new species, but also for a brand new genus, or larger classification of plants and animals.
Ross Winton captured the first rare ladybug in 2009 as an entomology graduate student of Montana State University by placing traps set in a sand dune. Currently a technician in Idaho, Winton thought that what his traps revealed where mere parts of an ant only to later on discover that the curious insect was able to hide his head just like a turtle does when retreating to its shell.
Winton sent his discoveries to a group of scientists involved with the studying of this class of insects in Australia. The rare ladybug was officially described for the first time in a recent issue of the Royal Entomological Society publication, the Systematic Entomology.
So far, only two specimens of the new species have been collected. A male of the pinhead sized ladybugs was acquired in Montana and a female in Idaho, as such proving it to be the rarest species ever to have been discovered on the United States territory.
Since entomologists use males to describe beetle species the credit for the new discovery went to Winton who collected the male ladybug in 2009. The name of the species however, doesn’t take after his own name, but after his former professor from Montana State University, entomologist Michael Ivie. The rare ladybugs are now part of the Allenius iviei species. However, the common name for the “turtle” insect is “Winton Ladybird Beetle”.
So far scientists couldn’t come up with a explanation as to why the ladybug is able to retract its head or possible situations when such an ability could come in handy for the new genus insect. “It’s a whole new kind of ladybug. Whatever this does, it is very specialized. It’s quite the exciting little beast,” Ivie said.