According to researchers, a new and rare type of insect with a peculiar hunting method has been discovered in the Amazon jungle.
According to a study recently published in the European Journal of Taxonomy, the creature — a species of tree-dwelling mantis — was identified during a study conducted in a private reserve in central Brazil.
Using a trap made from a cloth sheet and a light bulb set up night after night, the researchers managed to attract and hold the two male specimens they studied for 64 days.
The species is named for its partially translucent body and wings, according to the researchers.
According to the researchers, the specimens, identified by their green bodies and red antennae, were placed in an enclosure where their behavior was observed before they died of natural causes.
Under the watchful eye of researchers, the creatures displayed “enigmatic” behavior, which involved pressing their bodies against a surface.
The researchers speculate that “these insects probably hunt among the upper-level foliage, where they hide by pressing their bodies against the undersides of the leaves…”. This hunting strategy has also been documented in other insects.
After the death of insects, their bodies were analyzed.
A range of body characteristics, including aspects of its genital appendages, confirmed the identity of a new species, becoming the fifth known member of the genus Microphytinini.
“Members of the Microphytinae are rarely collected in reported studies and remain rare in scientific collections,” the researchers said.
The new species is named Microphotina crystallites in reference to the region where it was discovered.
“‘Cristalino’ is the main river in the region and also means ‘translucent’ in Portuguese, which alludes to the translucent quality of the crystalline body and feathers of our new species,” said the researchers.
The Amazon rainforest is home to a considerable number of mantis species, but some areas, such as Mato Grosso state, where the study was conducted, have not been much explored.
“Further sampling efforts in this rich but highly altered area are likely to reveal a new praying mantis fauna,” the researchers said.