Readers’ wildlife photos

August 24, 2021 • 8:00 am

Send in your good wildlife photos, please.

Today’s contributor is regular Mark Sturtevant, whose forte is insect photography. Mark’s notes and IDs are indented (links are also his), and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

Here is a set of pictures that concentrate on Orthoptera (grasshoppers and their allies).

First up is a red-legged grasshopper (Melanoplus femurrubrum), heavy with eggs. These are one of our most common ‘hoppers.

Next is a nymph of my favorite species, the fantastically well camouflaged coral-winged grasshopper (Pardalophora apiculata). Nymphs make their appearance in the autumn. They spend the winter as nymphs, and then appear as adults in the spring. Adults have beautiful hind wings, as shown in the link.

A late-season cricket that I find well south of me is the jumping bush cricket, Orocharis saltator.

At the same park are red-headed bush crickets (Phyllopalpus pulchellus). This is a female. I do see males, but they don’t stick around for me. Soon I will make the drive to where they are and try try again for the males.

The next cricket is this melanistic kind of tree cricket (Oecanthus forbesi). I see this species only in undeveloped areas, while an entirely green species seems to do quite well in both fields, forests, and suburbs.

I was overjoyed to find this camel cricket shown in the next picture. This one looks to be in the genus Ceuthophilus. I used to find camel crickets all the time when I was growing up, but here I rarely see them. They are secretive, preferring to live under logs and in other concealed places.

The last major group are the katydids, and I include just two examples here. First is a short-winged meadow katydid (Conocephalis brevipennis). This one is a female. The chittery sounds of the males are a constant feature of late summer fields.

Last up is a large and beautiful oblong-winged katydid (Amblycorypha oblongifolia). They are not at all challenging to photograph. Unlike most Orthopterans, these katydids will always sit calmly while I do my thing.

Thank you for looking!

20 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. I always love your photos, and these are no exceptions!

    I’ve long wondered — not enough to go find out for myself, I guess — why camel crickets are called “camel” crickets. They always look slightly sinister to me, but that may be because of a giant one that menaced the main characters of an anime I watched some time ago. 😉

  2. I’ve never seen live Phyllopalpus [doubt they occur in the Pacific Northwest], but photo suggests they mimic bombardier beetles [Brachinus]!

    1. I had not thought of them as mimics, but it does make sense. Perhaps they are bad to eat in their own right (?) In any case they sit right out in the open on top of leaves, and that is warning behavior.

  3. Wonderful as always Mark. The tree cricket was of particular interest. I have seen one before but they are very uncommon at least where I am in Australia.
    Also are these camel crickets large? It looks very similar to king crickets I’ve seen here and they are big animals for an invertebrate.

    1. They are in the same suborder (Ensifera), for crickets and katydids, and so on. But that’s where they split apart. So their similarity may be more about convergent evolution.

  4. Cool photos and link to a katydid song. Would you happen to know which critter in SE Michigan sings a very long (seemingly constant) high-pitched trill in the days and evenings? I snuck up on one, and it seemed to be some kind of katydid, but I didn’t get a great look.

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