I’m back in Omaha and have another week until CD returns from her five weeks in New Zealand with our girls and their families and, even though she isn’t here to supervise, YardWork must be done. Accordingly, I was dutifully mowing the lawn today, and I noticed an insect jumping out of the path of the mower and flying into a tuft of ornamental grass that we have. I immediately shut off the mower and moved cautiously in for a closer look. What I found was a lovely katydid, hiding deep in the depths of the grass jungle. Since there was no way that I could get a clear view, I finished the mowing and came back shortly afterwards. My photo angel Frances was with me, as it had climbed up to one of the tufts, in plain sight. I was very soon back with my macro lens and tripod and, though I maneuvered carefully, it was obviously aware of my presence and kept creeping around to the back side of the tuft. I moved more slowly and, eventually, it allowed me to get a few good shots, of which I like this one best. After consulting several online resources, I have learned that there are some 6,400 species of katydid, and I believe (thanks to one of my favorite resources, bugguide.net) that my visitor was a male Handsome Meadow Katydid (Orchelimum pulchellum). I’m updating this post on September 2, to include the information that the ornamental grass is muhly grass (Species Muhlenbergia).
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He is a handsome fellow. I had no idea there were so many sorts of meadow katydids chirping around. I finally joined BugGuide, and submitted my first photo there last week. I had “meadow katydid nymph” right, but I didn’t know I had a “wingless” meadow katydid. Mine was a wee thing. I hope it grows up to be as handsome as yours.
That grass is unusual and attractive, too, even though the katydid has a bit of an any-port-in-a-storm look in its eye.
You were fortunate to get a tentative ID for a katydid nymph at BugGuide, Linda. I posted one there once and got my head handed to me as they are so difficult to ID without a genital dissection. The hander and the handee eventually became friends and when he moved to Amherst for a summer hung out looking for insects. If you are interested in a decent general guide Eric’s book is available here or at a local book shop near you (more than likely in a B&N).
Thanks for the tip. I’ve plunked it into my Amazon cart, and may order it once I’ve had a chance to take a look at it.
I hope that, in his eye, I didn’t pose too much of a potential storm. Apparently not, or he wouldn’t have climbed the rigging to have that vantage point in the crow’s nest.
Hi, and welcome, Belinda! I see that you do some wonderful work with the wee folk, and I’m looking forward to delving deeper. Thanks for your kind comment!
That’s a spectacular shot! Well done ! I’m so impressed that she waited for you to gather your kit and finish the mowing ! ☺
He really impressed me too, and I felt very lucky that he stayed around and got comfortable with my proximity. Maybe he likes the fragrance of fresh-cut grass as much as I do!
Good working theory! We’ve had the same experience with little crickets, grasshoppers and other little insects jumping ahead of us as we’ve cut the grass when it gets tall here. They are fun to watch, but I worry that we’ll hurt one. I’m glad this one took shelter in ornamental grasses, and that you got its portrait ;-)
Just as we always stop for turtles that we see in the road and help them to cross in the direction they’re headed, I also stop mowing when I see an insect hop or fly into my immediate path or, if it’s a grass spider’s web, I’ll make sure it has descended into the depths of its funnel, well below my 3-inch mower setting. I’m glad, too, that this one cooperated so well!
You have a loving and compassionate heart. And you must understand how we are all connected to one another, from the greatest to the tiniest…..
If only more of us would take the time to contemplate and eventually understand as well. If those of us who do all do our part, perhaps we can help the others, to enhance empathy and compassion for all our fellow creatures.
Love is always contagious… <3 <3 <3 We all can evolve towards enlightenment and understanding once the seed is sown.
Wow, that is an outstanding shot and from my favorite angle of slightly to the side of head on. Haven’t seen or heard too many katydids this year.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s not possible to see or hear too many katydids! I’ve only seen a couple this year, and this was the only one that I was able to get with a camera. And I was only able to get one last year. I just looked it up and see that I had prepared it for a post but changed my mind, probably because it was facing half-away from me. When I look at it now, though, it really came out pretty well. Guess I’ll have to do a follow-up post…
You captured a shot, Gary, of my absolute favorite insect. Handsome Meadow Katydids can be found at my local marshland park and I am still amazed at their colors every time that I see one. Here’s a link to one of the posts I did on Handsome Meadow Katydid a couple of years ago. (https://michaelqpowell.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/handsome-meadow-katydid/)
I remember this shot very well. And I commented, at the time, that I had hoped to see one myself some day. Some wishes really do come true!
Wonderful clarity and detail. He IS handsome. :-)
I surely agree with you there. And he was quite active, moving rather quickly up and down the stem and around the tuft. Most of the images I got were of him facing downward. I kept silently begging him to climb to the top, and he must have sensed my eagerness. This was also the only shot that gave me the detail I was hoping for.
Fantastic capture. I used to love katydids as a child. But I haven’t seen any in such a long time.
They are usually very difficult to see because they blend in so well with the green foliage they prefer. I see that they’re commonly called bush crickets over there and that their Maori name is Kiki Pounamu.
Great shot of the katydid. So clear and sharp in focus.
The grass looks a bit like my favourite PURPLE FOUNTAIN GRASS (Pennisetum advent). Took me about 2 years to track down the name of that particular grass I kept seeing and photographing.
I love the fluffy appearance and the way it changes colour in the sunlight (or season).
Thanks, Vicki. As soon as I can confirm what ours is, I’ll enter it in the text of the post.
Very striking creature, amazing. A
Have you seen these in the UK? A quick Google search shows that there are several varieties, and that they’re commonly called bush crickets there.
I don’t look at such things closely enough to know whether I’ve seen them or not – but we do have Grasshoppers (smaller creatures) on our front lawn, which remind me very much of my childhood in semi-countryside. A