Tag Archives: mountain katydid

Quiz answers and bug nerd shout outs

14 Aug

So what were your answers?

















The answers are as follows:

1. F, 2. H, 3. B, 4. G, 5. A, 6. E, 7. C, 8. D

1. Bird-dropping (Death’s head) spider

2. Ladybug (beetle) larvae

3. Rhinoceros beetle larvae

4. Mountain katydid

5. Pollen and nectar feeding katydid

6. Whip spider

7. Early instar of an owfly

8. Giant huntsman on my face

Okay, so maybe you were only able to get #8…I did put it in there for a freebie.  (And in case you think I’m completely crazy, you should know that the huntsman was dead…so I’m only half crazy.)

And don’t feel bad, I did not know 1-7 myself before researching them.  But that’s the fun, isn’t it?

We had a couple of people guess all of them correctly, so a special WE shout out to Marc at entomacrographic and to Drhoz.

**Be sure to click on the above links (1-8) to find out more about the featured creatures.**

(All photos property of Lisa Vankula-Donovan unless otherwise stated.)

Strange Insects — Quiz

11 Aug

Every once in a while, I’ve come across something that just baffles me. (I mean besides why they don’t put more jam in jam doughnuts.) But, without having a background in anything related to entomology, it’s sometimes a challenge to figure out what it is.  See, those experienced in the field can look at a number of things to at least narrow it down to an order.  I’m getting better at it but, as you’ll see, some are just plain confusing.  (But, if you’re a follower of the blog, these might not be that hard 😉 )

Can you guess what is what?









Now, match these letters up to the picture you think belongs with it.

A. Pollen and nectar feeding katydid

B. Rhinoceros beetle larvae

C. Early instar of an owl fly

D. Giant huntsman on my face

E. Whip spider

F. Bird-dropping (Death’s head) spider

G. Mountain Katydid

H. Lady bug (beetle) larvae

Post your answers in the comments below or on Facebook.  Answers will be revealed in tomorrow’s post.  I will announce the person(s) that got the most correct.

*All photos property of Lisa Vankula-Donovan unless otherwise stated.**

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.


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.

The Mountain Katydid

11 Feb

So, what was your guess? Did you guess it was a katydid?  When I first saw this strange creature, I thought (from afar) that it may be some type of weird rainforest spider.  On closer inspection, I noticed the resemblance of its head to grasshoppers.  So, although it looked nothing like a grasshopper otherwise, I assumed it must be related somehow and it was probably (fingers crossed) not deadly.  So, imagine my surprise that it was indeed a katydid, a Mountain Katydid to be exact; an insect in the same order — Orthoptera, or straight wing — as grasshoppers.

colourful katydid

Female Mountain Katydid

Next I’ll tell you that I misidentified this as the Colourful Gondwanan Katydid.  For an amateur like me, to even find something that was so close was a huge feat.  But my lack of expertise, unfortunately, doesn’t allow my eye to be as keen as a professional.  So, right before I posted this huge error in identification, I realized the bodies of the two types of katydids were different.  Had I found a male Mountain Katydid, I may have still gone ahead with the erroneous post.

Luckily, this is a female Mountain Katydid and has a much more robust body than their male counterpart.  The females are flightless and  although they do have small shell-like forewings, they do not have a second pair of wings functional for flight.  When disturbed (usually when handled as I found out) they will lift the forewings and show their colourful bands of red and blue underneath.  This female was very tolerant of me for quite a while before showing hers to me.  I didn’t have a chance to get a picture of this but was able to locate one so that you may see how it looks.

mountain katydid colours

photo credit: cdesign.com.au

Very impressive, although more beautiful than scary…even though I’m sure it’s effective when it needs to be.

The male of this type of katydid can fly and can look quite different.  From the pictures I’ve seen and the one male that I found (although I didn’t know it at the time that it was a male mountain katydid)  the body is more like that of your average katydid; more streamlined and leaf-like.  They too have the colours underneath that can be seen along the sides of the body even when the wings are down.  But the male that I found, I had mistaken for the Colourful Gondwanan Katydid and only after hearing back from the Entomology expert, did I realize what I had found.  See pic below.  You’ll have to  look closely at the body to see a hint of the blue stripes.

male mountain katydid byfield

Male Mountain Katydid

Since these are slow-moving insects, their physical attributes (like most creatures) serves as protection in a few different ways.  First, they are usually lower down on plants where the leaves are dead and they can blend quite well.  They are also known to be wherever kangaroos are common and it’s not a coincidence that, the female especially, resembles kangaroo droppings, that they will mimic as a defence. And as I mentioned previously, they will raise their wings, displaying their colourful stripes as a warning they could possibly be poisonous to a potential predator.  And since they love the ragwort plant (which is poisonous and stinks) they in turn make themselves unpalatable to anyone who dares eat them.

This katydid has definitely proven to be one of my more interesting finds as well as a huge learning curve.  And although I had to call in help again, I feel that I’m starting to get the knack of identification.

On to the next!