PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Live mantis egg masses were found inside a computer gaming mouse in Philadelphia earlier this month by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. Officers found three brown sacks and a live insect concealed inside the mouse while conducting an X-ray on the package that was shipped from Spain on Aug. 7.
The package’s destination was Hillsborough County, New Hampshire.
They were able to preserve the sacks and insects inside a sealed evidence bag and turned it over to CBP agriculture specialists.
The agriculture specialists worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspectors to determine the sacks were mantis egg masses and the live insect was a mantis.
The egg masses hatched while inside the sealed evidence bag.
“This seizure illustrates the exceptional inspection capabilities of Customs and Border Protection officers to detect unusual and creative concealment methods to intercept illicit smuggling attempts at our nation’s borders,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of Field Operations in Baltimore. “CBP officers and agriculture specialists serve with extraordinary commitment and vigilance every day to protect our nation, our economic security and our citizens against all potential threats.”
Mantis are not an endangered species in the United States, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regulates the importation of live insects into the country and importers are required to attain permits and meet requirements before importing live insects.
Officials are working to place the live mantis with the Academy of Natural Sciences museum in Philadelphia.