Rare headless ladybug discovered in Montana

Ordinary ladybug illustration 
By: Devansh Dutt 

A new type of ladybug was discovered in Montana, according to reports.

Montana now has a headless ladybug.

The newly discovered insect sticks its head into its throat, so it is not only a new species but an entirely new genus, or higher classification of plants and animals.

Ross Winton caught the insect in 2009, in traps set in a sand dune, while being a student at Montana State University Entomology.

Winton, now a wildlife technician in Idaho, at first thought it was part of an ant, but then discovered the bug can hide its head like a turtle in its shell.

Winton sent his discovery to scientists in Australia, working on this group of ladybug headless insects, which was once described in an issue of Entomology.

Only two samples of brown, pinhead-sized beetles, also known as ladybugs, have been collected, a male and a female in Idaho, the scientists said, making it the rarest species in the United States.

The credit for the new discovery went to Winton.

However, the new species, Allenius Iviei, was named after a former professor of entomologist at Montana State University, Michael Ivie.

The insect, with the proposed common name "Ladybird Beetle Winton," may prey on aphids and other plant pests.

Ivie said it was rare to discover a new beetle in the United States, and even more rare to discover a whole new genre. Discovery is not a small achievement considering the size and color of a grain of sand, he said.

He said it was not clear why the beetle slides its head into its throat.

"It is a new type of ladybug. Whatever it does, it is very special. It's a pretty exciting beast," Ivie said.