A lot of times the word insect brings creepy crawly things that buzz around and annoy us to mind. But some of the most spectacular organisms in nature are members of the insect family. From dragonflies to praying mantises, nature has found some pretty amazing ways for life to solve the problems that get thrown at it.
Well, we just found a marvelous video of a rare mountain katydid. In this clip, a hiker gently touches the unassuming creature and all of a sudden it reveals its true magnificence. You are going to amazed when you watch this wonderful video, and best of all, you did not need to go out into nature yourself to see it.
Katydids make up a subfamily of the insect world called tettigoniidae, of which there are more than sixty four hundred known species. Also called bush crickets, they are mostly nocturnal.
These remarkable insects are found on every continent except Antarctica. While almost a third of all species of katydids live in the tropical rain forests of Central and South America, some two hundred and fifty five species can be found in the United States and North America.
Many species of katydid resemble small grasshoppers, but are easily differentiated by their extremely long antennae. Others could easily be mistaken for leaves on a tree on blades of grass. However some, like this rare mountain katydid, have extremely colorful markings.
Most katydids eat leaves, flowers, seeds, and bark, but some have been known to eat small snails, other insects, and small snakes and lizards.
Larger katydids can inflict a painful bite to humans, however, they can not break skin.
In some places, they are considered pests by farmers, but they typically do not congregate in large enough numbers to make an economic impact. In some parts of Africa like Uganda, katydids are actually consumed by humans as an excellent source of protein.
Male katydids have a sound producing organ on their wings that help them communicate, and is used as a courtship ritual in late summer.
Katydids live a fairly long time for insects. While the housefly has a lifespan of about three days, katydids can live for about a year. After mating in late summer, a female will deposit her eggs in a specially dug hole near grass stems. Depending on the species, when they hatch, the nymphs may resemble other dangerous insects like spiders or assassin bugs to avoid predators. Others may look like flower petals as a form of camouflage. Nymphs do not reach sexual maturity until their final molt in the summer time. When it comes time to mate, a male katydid presents a gift to the female in the form of a spermatophylax. The female will consume this gelatinous bulb, simultaneously gaining nutrients and becoming impregnated.
So, there you have everything you ever wanted to know about katydids all in one easy to understand story.
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