Saturday, August 13, 2011

Greater Anglewing - master of disguise

The orthopteran symphony is nearing its crescendo right now. Various crickets, trigs, coneheads, and katydids are chirping, rasping, scraping, trilling, and making all of the other sounds that they do. In spite of the absolutely dominant wall of sound that these "singing" insects create, especially at night, how many of them do you actually see?

I was hiking in Adams County today, when an anomaly on the leaf of an eastern cottonwood caught my eye. Look closely. This photo is unmodified other than to compress it so that it would upload to Blogger.

I  flipped and cropped the photo here, so that the entire animal fills the photo. It is one of our more ubiquitous katydids, the greater anglewing, Microcentrum rhombifolium. You've got them in your yard. The males make an extremely distinctive series of clicking notes that accelerate as the song progresses. They also deliver short harsh zziiiit! notes. Listen to a greater anglewing HERE, and see if that's a sound you've heard before.

When an anglewing is not on a green leaf, they're a bit like a fish out of water. This is one we captured on a night foray a few years ago, and posed on someone's sleeve.

But when they are resting on vegetation, it isn't hard to see why we hear far more of these leaflike singers than we ever see.


Scott said...

I've been finding a lot of them this year, they seem to be everywhere out in the West Jefferson area.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your blog. I came across an anglewing in my garden today and didn't know what to make of this insect that looked like a thick blade of grass. I greatly appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge.