Tag Archives: mottled katydid

Giant Green Slantface Grasshopper

17 Sep

A grasshopper walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Why the long face?”

I guess I jumped the gun a bit on the post where I said that grasshoppers were a bit boring and don’t vary much in appearance. Now, I can’t say that I’ve seen this much variation in grasshoppers…

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Female Mountain Katydid

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Mottled Katydid

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Green Leaf Katydid

But, I did get the awesome chance to hold the not-so-ordinary looking, but accurately titled grasshopper, the Giant Green Slantface.

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Apparently these guys are not the best fliers or jumpers and can usually be found camouflaging themselves with long grass. I found this guy in the dog’s water dish. Well, actually my husband (who had been sitting on the couch for a while) very nonchalantly mentioned that there was a “praying mantis” in the dog’s water dish. Have I taught him nothing? A. Fish it out B. not even close to a praying mantis. It’s like he doesn’t listen or something, hmmm. Do men do that?

So, here it is, my beautiful slant faced friend who found a new home and camouflage in the large mock orange bush beside the house until his wings dried. Don’t you love that face?? Sorry about the photo quality, he was walking all over my hand. Maybe he wasn’t having a good antennae day.

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Reader Photo-Green leaf katydid

20 Aug

I know I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it again, but perhaps the most searched term that brings people to my blog is along the lines of “grasshopper vs. katydid”.  And they’re not meaning which one would win in a fight.  (Although my money is on the katydid since grasshoppers are herbivores.)  What people really are wanting to know is what that green/brown thing is in their yard.  I can see how people get confused, especially with the green leaf katydid, as seen in the below picture sent in by Lisa from Chicago.

reader photo 1

I purposely left the picture uncropped so you can get an idea of the brilliance of their camouflage.  Now, what I mean by saying I understand how people can get confused, is not that they look alike, much.  But we are almost trained growing up that a green jumpy thing that also flies on launch is, across the board, a grasshopper.  (Sort of like every one of the most commonly seen beetles in the Midwest are referred to as “June bugs” regardless of what they really are.)

See, both katydids and grasshoppers are in the same order-Orthoptera, or straight wings.  So, it’s not a huge stretch to get confused.  But, if you ask me (and you didn’t) katydids have a much more colourful palette of costumes.  Some, like the Mountain katydid below, don’t even resemble the ‘normal’ katydid at all.

colorful katydid

But, I’m a bit biased since one my favourite insects is the katydid.  More specifically, the Mottled Katydid, seen below.

katydid

But, just in case you are wondering specifically what the differences are between these two, you can click the link HERE or HERE and read my posts on that very subject.

My Favourite Snapshots

11 May

 

So, I thought since I was asking you guys to submit a few snaps for the photo contest, I would post some of my favourite shots that I’ve been able (see lucky) enough to get.

Which ones do you like?

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

Mottled Katydid

Mottled Katydid

Christmas Beetle

Christmas Beetle

Sunbird

Sunbird

St. Andrew's Cross Spider

St. Andrew’s Cross Spider

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Double Drummer Cicada

Clanger Cicada

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

Owlfly

Owlfly

Dainty Tree Frog

Dainty Tree Frog

 

Mystery Bug

Mystery Bug

So, this last photo is a bug I haven’t figured out yet.  Funny story behind it.

I saved it from the pool, it seemed lifeless.  I laid it on a shirt in the office overnight figuring if it ‘came back to life’ at least it would be in the office and not escape.  The next morning it was off the shirt, I located it then took it out to the front porch where I got some pictures.  Later that night it was still hanging out on the front porch and I went to pick it up…it flew down and landed right in front of Hunter, my giant green tree frog who promptly ate it.

R.I.P. Mystery Bug

Don’t forget about the photo contest.  For rules/submission guidelines —>http://wannabeentomologist.com/2013/05/07/photo-contest/

Grasshopper or Katydid?

14 Jan

katydid

Okay, so what was your guess?  Most of you probably guessed that it was a prehistoric monster but this is actually the Spotted or Mottled Katydid.

Let’s begin by explaining the difference between grasshoppers and katydids.

First of all, both grasshoppers and katydids come from the same “order” called Orthoptera, or “straight wings”, as do crickets.   The katydid and cricket are actually more closely related because of something called ‘stridulation’.  This is what it’s called when these insects make their distinctive noise by rubbing parts of their bodies together.  Grasshoppers and locusts have a row of sharp pegs on the backs of their legs and produce their sound by rubbing these ‘combs’ together.  Katydids and crickets, however, create their sounds by rubbing their wings together.  This entire order of insects, remarkably, are able to hear the sounds from other insects (as when they are looking for a mate) through an ear — or tympanum — located just below the knee on their front leg.  Although certain kinds of grasshoppers can have their ears on the sides of their abdomen.

grasshopper

The above picture is a grasshopper (probably the biggest I’ve found) and you can clearly see the combs on the backs of the legs that they use for  stridulation.  Grasshoppers also have a slimmer body and shorter antennae.  Katydids have long antennae (sometimes longer than their body) and a more round or robust body shape that usually resembles a leaf, even down to the veins in the leaf.  (See below) Female katydids have a long, upwardly curving egg-laying structure (ovipositor) underneath the abdomen that, in my opinion, looks like a weapon or stinger of sorts.

green leaf katydid

True Katydid

All straight wings (grasshoppers, locusts, crickets and katydids) have the following features:

-Chewing mouthparts

-Ability to make sounds

-Powerful rear legs for jumping

-Long, thin or short antennae

-Metamorphosis from wingless (nymphs) to winged (adults)

As far as diet goes, grasshoppers feed mainly on grasses (herbivores) but will also eat a variety of other plants.  Katydids, however, will feed on vegetation, pollen and nectar and even other insects (omnivores).  And both serve as meals to a variety of predators…including people.  In some countries grasshoppers are fried, roasted and some are even dipped in chocolate!

Perhaps the most interesting bit of information I found while researching the above Spotted Katydid, was that at different stages of some katydid’s developement or instars (phase between two periods of molting) they actually mimick other insects in their appearance. So, while they are wingless nymphs, some may have the physical attributes of a black ant.  Katydids will go through four nymphal instars lasting about 30-40 days.

So, there’s a quick lesson on how to tell the difference between a katydid and a grasshopper.  And as always, don’t forget to send me pics of your own buggy findings and I’ll post them on the site!