In case you hadn't heard, April 9th was National Unicorn Day. You may have missed it due to a wee celestial spectacle the day before. But now you know - the unicorns have their very own celebratory day.

Now. Whether you believe in a white horse with a sparkling horn on its forehead is your own business. Also, just because you haven't seen one doesn't mean it's not out there. This brings me to another particular type of unicorn. It's doubtful you've seen this one in real life either, but you should know about it in case you ever bump into one. It's called the Phyllovates chlorophaea.

The Phyllovates chlorophaea is a particular species of praying mantis more commonly known as the Texas unicorn mantis. Sporting a pair of "horns" between its eyes and antennae, it is native to south Texas but also found in Mexico, Central America, and northern South America.

It's a formidable-looking creature as far as bugs are concerned. I think any living being with projections sprouting from its head presents as formidable, whether equine, mantid, or surly teenager.

There are more than 2400 species of praying mantises around the world in various habitats. These insects are known for their distinct posture and predatory nature. While they could certainly be labeled a "preying mantis", the nickname of "praying mantis" came about due to how their forelegs resemble a praying gesture. The word "mantis" is a derivative of the Greek word "mantos", which means "prophet".

Praying mantises - and unicorns - have fascinated humanity for millennia. The state of Texas has been fascinating humanity for almost two centuries. Thus it seems only natural that a unicorn mantis would eventually show up in Texas.

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Quiz: Do you know your state insect?

Stacker has used a variety of sources to compile a list of the official state insect(s) of each U.S. state, as well as their unique characteristics. Read on to see if you can guess which insect(s) represent your state. 

Gallery Credit: Andrew Vale

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