Friday, June 9, 2017

Mountain Katydid

Have you seen any of these?

A nice enough creature, but not really remarkable until it does this:

This is a female mountain katydid, Acripeza reticulata. The males have brown wings of a more normal kind, but the females are flightless. The only function of this lady's little wings is to cover up the pretty abdomen until she wants to frighten off a predator.

Mountain katydids used to be common in the Toowoomba district, but are not often seen nowadays, probably because of habitat destruction as our suburbs spread. They are know to feed on two local plants, the local Senecio species (yellow daisies).and the climbing Parsonsia species.

They absorb poisonous chemicals from the plants as they eat, which gives them a nasty smell - not particularly noticeable to human noses, but enough to discourage predators from eating them.

This insect's numbers have been declining and scientists would like to know where it can still be found. The best places to look are where there is plenty of the food plants. Can you please email me if you see one? (A photo would be good, and some details about exactly where it was found would be even better.)

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