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The Insect Troll: Meet the Wax Tailed Hopper

How many animals can you think of that look like they are celebrating the 4th of July every day? Or maybe they remind you of the wild hairdo of a troll doll? Well, the Wax Tailed Hopper has a unique tail from any other rainforest animal. Take a closer look — are those flowers or fireworks that are found on the end of the insect?

Actually, that tail is made of wax! The insect secretes, or squirts wax out of its body, which is made from the plant juices the Hopper loves to eat. The wax is not for decoration but for protection as it keeps predators away from the insect, and helps to cushion the bug if it falls.

What happens if the waxy tail breaks off? Don’t worry! The Wax Tailed Hopper will grow a new one!

Female Wax Tailed Hoppers also use the wax to protect their eggs before they hatch. The bug’s appearance also helps it to blend in with the leaves and plants it likes to live in.

Wax Tailed Hopper Insect Troll Rainforest
The Wax Tailed Hopper is also known for its quick movements that are not unlike that of a grasshopper. Between its unusual tail and lacey-looking wings, the Hopper is without a doubt, one of the most distinctive insects found in rainforests throughout the world.

Something to Think About: Can you think of other animals that have distinctive features which are both beautiful and which protect them too?

Look further: To learn more about the Wax Tailed Hopper or to see more pictures, visit: Project Noah or National Geographic

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