Rare Ladybug, 'Headless' Insect, Discovered in Montana

A new discovery has wildlife enthusiasts buzzing after a "headless" ladybug was discovered in Montana.

An explanation of the new species of ladybug was recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Systemic Entomology, and details the unique characteristics that give this bug a head-up over the competition.

The first record of this new ladybug was detailed by Ross Winton, who captured the insect in 2009. At that time, Winton was an entomology graduate student at Montana State University and caught the insect in a trap he had set in a sand dune.

Winton, who now lives in Idaho and works as a wildlife technician, suspected that he only had a piece of an insect, but then realized why the ladybug is called headless.

The insect has the ability to retract its head into its throat, much like that of a turtle, which makes it appear as if the insect has no head.

Winton then sent the ladybug to be examined by scientists in Australia, who happened to be conducting research on those types of insects. After exhaustive examination, the detailed analysis of this particular species of ladybug was published.

What makes this discovery so special is that only two specimens- also known as ladybird beetles- have ever been collected, scientists explained, making this insect the rarest species in the United States.

The new species, known as Allenius iviei, was named after Winton's former professor and current Montana State University entomologist Michael Ivie.

The insect is commonly referred to as "Winton's Ladybird Beetle," and eats a variety of common pests found on plant life and is about the size and color of a grain of sand.

Ivie explained that the reason behind the ladybug retracting its head into its throat is still unclear, but that he is very excited to be studying the insect.

"It's a whole new kind of ladybug. Whatever this does, it is very specialized. It's quite the exciting little beast," Ivie told Reuters.