Troll Nymph - On a recent expedition into the Suriname rain forest in South America, biologists discovered 60 species that had previously been unknown to science. One of these—possibly—was a tiny nymph with a lush head of iridescent, waxy hair. We say “possibly,” because the team only managed to catch one incredible photo of the nymph before it hopped away and disappeared. Nymphs are young insects that often completely change as they grow into adulthood—so it’s possible that this was just a young version of an insect we already know about.
Nothing like it has ever been seen. The “hairs” are actually thin follicles made out of wax, which are probably used to trick predators into grabbing the wrong end (the hair grows on its butt). Like a lizard’s tail, they can probably break away to give the nymph a chance to escape. But they have a dual purpose—when the nymph is threatened, it pops away like a flea, jumping to hundreds of times its body height. The hairs slow its fall like a parachute, allowing it to glide even farther.