New Mysterious “Unicorn” Praying Mantis Discovered

It was found in a remote part of Brazil.

This unicorn mantis (Ceratomantis saussurii) is similar to new unicorn mantis species found recently in Brazil. (Getty)
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Hidden deep within Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, some of the highest levels of biodiversity can be found. That’s where a new “unicorn” mantis species has been discovered.

Projeto Mantis, a non-profit, made the discovery along with five to seven new species of praying mantises.

The mantises were found northeast of Rio de Janeiro in Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçu park.

The National Geographic Society-funded expedition used light trapping (luring insects at night with bright illumination) to snatch up the little unicorns. One of the mantises discovered had a prominent horn and metallic red limbs.

It was a “truly astonishing and majestic mantis,” team leader Leonardo Lanna told National Geographic.

While the mantis isn’t a new genus–it belongs to the Zoolea family–it could be a new species. But it will take more time investigating the specimen to make that determination.

Julia Rivera, a mantis expert in Peru, recently discovered a similar species that had little nubs on its head that meet together to form a horn-like feature on the insects head.

“It’s incredible that such a large animal can stick around without even being noticed,” Rivera said.

Scientists aren’t quite sure why the mantises formed the horn but speculate it could be used for mimicry or camouflage.

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