Crickets and Pillbugs Feed on Human Remains

by Nadia Whitehead

Insects love dead bodies. Blow flies, beetles, and other bugs flock to decomposing remains to feed, lay eggs, or prey on others at the scene. But entomologists were recently surprised to find two new creepy-crawlers nibbling on human flesh.

While observing how carrion insects naturally assemble on a decaying human body, scientists witnessed the bush cricket - Pediodectes haldemani (pictured above) and pillbug - Armadillidium cf. vulgare munching on the corpse. The behavior had not been seen in either species before and left small marks that could be misinterpreted as drug abuse, defense wounds, or torture in forensic investigations, the researchers warn.

The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Medical Entomology, describes in gory detail how the two arthropods fed on the cadaver.

(via: Science News/AAAS)

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Hooded Grasshopper (Teratodes monticollis)

…is a species of grasshopper found throughout India and Sri Lanka. Despite their flashy hoods, hooded grasshoppers are pretty normal insects, as they are usually found in vegetation where they feed on leaves. Their hoods are in-fact camouflage to make the insect look more like a leaf. 

Phylogeny

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Orthoptera-Acrididae-Teratodes-monticollis

Image Source(s)

Lichen katydid

This very strange katydid is Lichenomorphus carlosmendesi, scientifically named that way because of its appearance of lichen and in honor of Portuguese singer Carlos Mendes.

This species belongs to a subfamily of tettigoniids, characterized by being cryptic, imitating different tree lichens or tree bark with lichen.

Animalia - Arthropoda - Insecta - Orthoptera - Tettigoniidae - Phaneropterinae -  Dysoniini - Lichenomorphus - L. carlosmendesi

[Source]

Photo credit: ©Mario Martins (locality: São Luís do Paraitinga, Sao Paulo, Brazil)

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In North American Katydids, Green isn’t the Dominant Colour, Pink is

by Bec Crew

Recent breeding experiments have revealed that bright pink, not green, could be the most genetically dominant colouring of the North American oblong-winged katydid.

For almost as long as we’ve known that oblong-winged katydids (Amblycorypha oblongifolia) come in an array of colours, we’ve known that green is by far the most common, while the pink, yellow and orange colourings are far more rare, based on their appearance in the wild.

But over the past five years, researchers at the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans have been breeding pink katydids, and the results are challenging everything we thought we knew about the genetics of katydid colouring…

(read more: Scientific American)

photographs: Jayme Necaise/Audubon Insectarium

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SHAMELESS PLUG……



I post TEN new images to my Flickr page EVERY day, some of which will make it to my tumblr posts.

This is what you may have missed today (December 3rd, 2013) on Flickr……

(Click images for identification in captions)

by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu’er, Yunnan, China

See more Chinese insects and spiders on my Flickr site HERE……
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"Lichen Katydid" (Markia hystrix)

…a species of that occurs in Northwestern South America. Like other tettigoniids M. hystrix exhibits exceptional mimicry and mimics the colortation and ‘texture’ of lichen. Like other phaneropterine katydids M. hystrix is likely arboreal and feeds mostly on leaves, flowers, seed and other plant matter.

Classification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Orthoptera-Tettigonioidea-Tettigoniidae-Phaneropterinae-Dysoniini-Markia-M. hystrix

Image(s): Andreas Kay

Happy Earth Day!

In celebration of today I would like to bring you some good news. This large cave dwelling insect has likely escaped extinction thanks to the efforts of biologists. These tusked wetas (Motuweta isolate) were nearly wiped out due to rising populations of invasive rats. They are no longer found at all in several of their original habitats but thanks to the efforts of the New Zealand Department of Conservation they have been introduced into other habitats free of invasive mammals. 

For the full article by John Platt visit Scientific Amercian

(Image source: Graeme Churchard)

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Giant False Leaf Katydid Nymph (Pseudophyllus titan, Pseudophyllinae, Tettigoniidae)

The Giant Leaf Katydid is China’s largest Orthopteran. It is nocturnal and feeds on Ficus bark and leaves. This is an advanced wingless juvenile but already with a body length (excluding antennae and limbs) of 6cm.



by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu’er, Yunnan, China

See more Chinese grasshoppers and crickets on my Flickr site HERE…..

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Little Barrier Island Giant Weta (Deinacrida heteracantha)

…is a species of weta once found throughout New Zealand but is now only found on Little Barrier Island. Like most giant wetas this species is a nocturnal herbivore and has a diet of leaves, fungi and small invertebrates. But unlike other wetas this species is not social and pretty passive, despite its genus name meaning ‘terrible grasshopper’. The only thing terrible about them is their weight, as they are the heaviest of all giant wetas with one specimen reported weighing 71g that’s 3x heavier than a house mouse!

Phylogeny 

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Orthoptera-Anstostomatidae-Deinacrida-heteracantha

Image Source(s)

Elegant Grasshopper - Zonocerus elegans | ©LAMPSHELL   (Timbavati Nature Reserve, South Africa)

This striking colored African grasshopper, Zonocerus elegans (Orthoptera - Pyrgomorphidae), reaches up to 50 mm in length, and may or may not have fully developed wings. The head is black with yellow spots and stripes, orange eyes, and antennae alternately striped in black and orange. The prothorax is blue-grey with yellow endings, and the abdomen is striped in yellow, black and blue. The wings are mostly reddish.

This aposematic coloring advertise the unpleasant smell, and presumably taste, of the body of this grasshopper [1].

The elegant grasshopper, Zonocerus elegans, occurs in large numbers in Kilosa district, in Tanzania, during the dry season June to January and attacks a wide range of wild and crop plants [2].

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We always love learning about animals that seem too awesome to be real. Nature never ceases to amazes us. Today’s case in point is a stunning grasshopper in the Eumastacidae family, commonly known as monkey hoppers or matchstick grasshoppers. They’re found all over the world, though most species are tropical, and they feed on algae, ferns and gymnosperms.

The two stunning specimens seen here were photographed in Ecuador by German photographer Andreas Kay. Be sure to visit his fascinating photostream for more beautiful photos of Ecuadorian flora and fauna, including lots of other amazing grasshoppers.

Head over to Wired to learn more about the gorgeous monkey hopper.