Lichen Katydid - Markia hystrix

Katydids comprise a diverse group of insects particularly well adapted to survival in rainforest because of their exceptional camouflage. Most katydids are well camouflaged with brown or leaflike green markings. 

The Lichen Katydid, Markia hystrix (Orthoptera - Tettigoniidae), however, has one of the most incredible camouflages of all. It resembles the pale greenish-white lichens on which it lives in rainforest treetops. Not only does the color match the lichens, but the body and legs have a bizarre assortment of spines and points that blend well with lichens, in fact, so well that this insect is extremely difficult for predator to find.

This astonishing insect is known to occur in Central America (Costa Rica, Panama), Colombia and Ecuador.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credits: [Top: ©Holguer Lopez | Locality: not indicated, 2013] - [Bottom: ©Robert Oelman | Locality: Colombia-Ecuador, 2007]


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…..

“Spiked Magician” (Saga pedo)

Also known as the predatory bush cricket, the spiked magician is a species of sagine bush cricket (Saginae) which occurs from southern Europe and western Asia from the Iberian peninsula across central Europe and central Asia to China. Sage pedo is known to inhabit both dry and wet meadows, pastures, scrubland, and even grain fields/vineyards. True to its common name Saga pedo is indeed predatory and will feed on a range of other insects. It earns its other common name due to the “enchating” way it moves its forelimbs as it approaches its prey.


Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Orthoptera-Ensifera-Tettigoniidea-Tettigoniidae-Saginae-Saga-S. pedo

Image: Christophe BERNIER


Mountain Katydid - Acripeza reticulata 

These awesome insects are males Mountain katydids, Acripeza reticulata (Orthoptera - Tettigoniidae), a species native to Australia distinctive by the wispy antennae, and the abdominal bands of crimson and blue which are normally hidden. They have a body length up to 5 cm. Unlike males, females are flightless.

These insects feed mostly on fireweeds and other herbs, from which they may assimilate toxins that make them distasteful to predators. They rely on camouflage to avoid detection. When threatened, females freeze while males emit a warning call. If further threatened, the wing-covers are raised and the abdomen arched and vibrated, revealing otherwise hidden bands of shimmering crimson and electric blue. Males also sing when defending territory or courting. Though usually harmless to human, they can bite. 

Reference: [1]

Photo credits: [Top: ©Michael Whitehead | Locality: not indicated, 2015] - [Bottom: ©Mark Sanders | Locality: not indicated, 2015]


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

These images are what you may have missed yesterday (March 21st, 2014) on Flickr……

(Click images for identification in captions or click the link below to view them on Flickr)

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

See more Chinese insects and spiders on my Flickr site HERE……


“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.


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

Image(s): Andreas Kay

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


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


Peacock Katydid (Pterochroza ocellata)

…a species of katydid that is distributed throughout northern South America excluding Ecuador. Peacock katydids spend most of their time on the forest floor and as such they have developed a camouflage that makes them look like dead leaves. If this camouflage fails the peacock katydid has a backup, it can open it wings revealing its two large eye spots that are sure to startle any predators.  Interestingly no two peacock katydid wings are the same color or shape, this makes it hard for predators to recognize their ruse. Peacock katydids feed mostly on dead/living leaves and other plant matter, however they will sometimes eat other insects as well. Unlike North American katydids the ‘mating call’ (which is produced via stridulation) is very high frequency and is even thought to interfere with bat echolocation.



Images: ArtforP and Robert Oelman


European Saddleback Bushcricket  - Ephippiger ephippiger 

What you see in these photos are a male (top) and a female (bottom) of  Ephippiger ephippiger (Orthoptera - Tettigoniidae), a katydid species native to Europe and parts of Asia.

Like other bushcrickets this species is characterized by extremely long antennae, a pronotum resembling a saddle, thick abdomen and vestigial wings. Females have a highly developed ovipositor, the organ used for oviposition (as seen in the bottom picture).

In this species the mating behavior includes the so called nuptial gifts or nuptial feeding, in which males secrete from their accessory glands a gelatinous mass that does not contain sperm called a “spermatophylax”, attached to the spermatophore that contains the sperm. At the end of copulation, females consume the spermatophylax who then go on to eat the remainder of the spermatophore. 

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credits: [Top: ©Michel Maylin | Locality: Pernes-les-Fontaines, Provence-Alpes.Cote d’Azur, France, 2012] - [Bottom: ©Bernard Dupont (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) | Locality: Les Rives, Hérault, France, 2004] 

Genus: Macroxiphus

Macroxiphus is a genus of unusual katydids (Tettigoniidae) that are distributed throughout South East Asia and Micronesia. Members of Macroxiphus are unique in that their larvae are exceptional ant mimics, and use their mimicry to trick potential predators into thinking they are harmful ants. Macroxiphus spp. will lose this disguise as they move on into adulthood.



Image: Muhammad Mahdi Karim