Wednesday, October 23, 2013
This Elegant Bush Katydid (Insara elegans) appeared on my window screen recently. Also called a Mesquite Katydid, they are distinguished from other katydids by the long narrow wings marked with white stripes. Katydids are nocturnal, so this one seemed content to let me photograph it mid-day as it rested. The males are the source of some of the rasping night sounds coming from high in the trees during the summer around here. The name "katydid" is supposedly and onomatopoeia for this sound, but that's a real stretch, at least for this species. Elegant, yes, for the slim wings and extraordinarily long antennae. This was the first year in twelve that I've seen this species in our neighborhood, which makes me wonder: Have they always been around, and I just haven't noticed, or are they having an especially good year, so more abundant?
Monday, October 14, 2013
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
They are members a group of arachnids called Amblypygids, which means "blunt rump," because they lack the curved tail that their cousins, the scorpions, wield for weapons. They have no venom or stinger, so are reportedly harmless to humans. Amblypygid moms carry their newly hatched young on their backs, a trait shared by scorpions; I like that these scary looking animals exhibit nurturing behavior.
Our visitor was very patient with us, posing for photographs and demonstrating its graceful movements without dashing away. Perhaps we'll be lucky enough to have a family of Amblypygids take up residence in our yard to help control the cricket population that has been keeping me awake at night. Or maybe they already have; it's been a little quiet around here lately.