Saturday, 7 April 2007

What katydid

The nights are cool but the field crickets (Teleogryllus) are still singing. There's a chorus line of them between the shed and the back fence. I haven't managed to photograph any of the singers, because they turn bashful when I approach, but I spotted one of their cousins trying to look inconspicuous on the Daintree pine (Gymnostoma).

Pretty as they are, the inland katydids (Caedicia) tend to outstay their welcome in well-tended gardens. They can hang around for as long as they like at my place where their herbivorous diet won't have much impact. What's another row of nibbled flowers and leaves in the chaos of my backyard? Who could tell?

There are about 1000 species of katydids (family Tettigonidae) in Australia. The inland katydid is probably the most familiar—the species occurs just about everywhere, having been distributed around the country in nursery stock. Despite their abundance, the katydids aren't that easy to spot. The forewings are beautifully camouflaged with their colour, shape and texture all resembling those of young leaves. Unfortunately for this individual (but not for me), the camouflage doesn't work so well on she oaks. The colour's not bad, though. (But it's obviously not good enough—count the legs!)

1 comment:

sarala said...

Apparently those of us truly blessed to live in the greater Chicago area will be seeing the emergence of the 17 year cicada this year. I was here 17 years ago but in my ignorance and lack of camera missed the fun. I'm looking forward to lots of buggy photos in a month or so. Here is a link if you are interested.
They say one can eat cicadas and offer some recipes. This is one place I will not boldly go.