This morning Pam drew my attention to a colorful katydid camping out on one of the exterior icehouse sconces. Camouflaged as a lush green leaf, a perfect disguise after this rainy summer, our katydid caller was disinterested in our attention.
Likely resting after a busy night feasting on leaves and/or insects (or perhaps stridulating in search of a suitable mate), this beautiful bug was as reserved and unthreatened as if it really were a leaf.
Females chirp in response to the shrill of the males. The males use this sound for courtship, which occurs late in the summer. The sound is produced by rubbing two parts of their bodies together, called stridulation. In many cases this is done with the wings, but not exclusively. One body part bears a file or comb with ridges; the other has the plectrum, which runs over the ridges to produce a vibration. (Source: Wikipedia)
Apparently some katydids are referred to as long-horned grasshoppers, sword bearing coneheads, or bush crickets. But I’m speaking out of school. Let’s see what insight the collective wisdom of Wikipedia can provide.
Insects in the family Tettigoniidae are commonly called katydids (especially in North America), or bush crickets. They have previously been known as “long-horned grasshoppers”. More than 8,000 species are known. Part of the suborder Ensifera, the Tettigoniidae are the only extant (living) family in the superfamily Tettigonioidea. (Source: Wikipedia)
It looks like these late summer visitors may be a considered a pest for gardens and orchards, nibbling their way through ripening produce. Or perhaps the specimen we spotted is preying on other pests? Many do. Until I know otherwise, I will hope that this green giant is visiting us in search of a mate and feasting on any bad bugs.
Thank you, katydid caller, for advancing our holistic orcharding agenda. And for letting us ogle you this morning without suddenly vanishing.