Pictures of an adult female brown morph Mediterranean katydid (Phaneroptera nana). Originated from eggs laid by captive reared wild-caught females of Summer 2016.
Our last Mediterranean katydid (Phaneroptera nana) molted to adult today and, as it was before, is a rare brown morph. In the pictures, it still wasn't not completely dried yet, so the antennae and legs are a bit pale.
Today we took some pictures of our adult Mexican bush katydids (Scudderia mexicana). Originated from eggs laid by captive reared wild females of Summer 2016.
It has been extremely hectic with everything else we've been rearing this summer, so it was difficult to keep up with our Mexican bush katydids (Scudderia mexicana), both in terms of this site and in real life. Because we haven't been giving them the best treatment, they seem to be on the smaller side. Most of their life, they have been eating plum (Prunus) cuttings and hibiscus flowers (Hibiscus) among other random things that were only changed out once every week or so. Although it was pretty horrible, orthopterans generally tend to not mind dry stuff so they were still able to grow and develop normally.
But now that they are adults, we decided to give them a run today. Below is a male. It has a broken foot that looks that have been eaten by another katydid (cannibalism is a common problem when rearing them together), but is otherwise in excellent shape.
And here is a female, in perfect condition.
It could have been possible to try to breed these again, but the male flew away in the process of taking photos. This may be the last time we ever have anything to do with this species again because we are leaving. The first time we ever saw them was nine years ago when we were still little kids! It has been a very long run rearing them almost every year since.
Today we took some pictures of our sixth instar Mediterranean katydids (Phaneroptera nana). Originated from eggs laid by captive reared wild-caught females of Summer 2016.
Just like with the Mexican bush katydids (Scudderia mexicana), we haven't been keeping up with these very well this year. We have been rearing the two species side by side so when we took the mexicana out to photograph, we also took these out. They are currently in sixth instar and very close to molting to adult. This mexicana have already been adults for several days but these hatched later (which is consistent with when and what age we usually find them in the wild).
Although we have so few of them this year, we still managed to pull our luck with a brown morph. It looks like it's going to be mostly brown as an adult too. The only problem is that it has a broken hindleg. . . A green morph is also shown below.
We found an adult female Mediterranean katydid (Phaneroptera nana) in our front yard.
We haven't been going really crazy with katydids this year, although we are still rearing a handful that hatched from last year's eggs. I'm sure that if we had tried, we could have easily caught a ton of them. In fact, we have already encountered several katydids throughout this year that we didn't bother to catch.
As the summer progresses, we are started to hear some katydid chirping. Today we even came across an adult female Mediterranean katydid (Phaneroptera nana) in our front yard on thistle. Not too common of a sight, even if the species is common. It stayed there for many hours without changing spots. Perhaps it was eating the flowers (because the leaves don't seem edible)?
Today we found a Mexican bush katydid (Scudderia mexicana) nymph at Albany Hill (Albany, California).
Every year in late Spring and early Summer we are bound to encounter a few wild Mexican bush katydids (Scudderia mexicana) nymphs randomly hanging out on herbivore-friendly shrubs, vines, or trees. We have already captured a number of very young nymphs earlier this year on top of having some of our eggs from last year hatch so we now are rearing a number of them.
Today we found another one on the bramble growing near the playground at Albany Hill. It looks to be L4. After taking a few shots, we captured it with a petri dish and brought it home.
Its good to know that the Mexican bush katydid population is still going strong in the wild. It isn't that they aren't common; each year during the fall we can hear males chirping on every block. The problem is that the introduced Mediterranean katydids (Phaneroptera nana), an extremely similar species, seem to have become increasingly common over the years and now we are finding them in places that used to only be inhabited by the mexicana. We have nothing against the introduced species but it would be a shame if the pushed out the native species.
While picking leaves for our caterpillars, we came across a pallid-winged grasshopper (Trimerotropis pallidipennis) on the sidewalk.
We see a least a few of these pallid-winged grasshoppers every year here in late Spring/early Summer. They are quite common, usually encountered on the ground both in the city and in undisturbed areas like under the subway tracks or along Cerrito Creek. They are difficult to spot though due to their masterful camouflage and are difficult to catch as they are extremely strong fliers. This one shot off into the air and was never seen again when we took it out to release and photograph.
Our first Mediterranean katydid (Phaneroptera nana) hatched today. The egg was laid by captive females, Summer 2016.
Just as our Mexican bush katydid have been beginning to hatch, so too have our Mediterranean. We only had a few eggs saved from last year and we weren't sure if any were still alive, but out popped one today. It is extremely small, probably only about two-thirds the size of newborn Scudderia mexicana. It is yellowish green with a yellow head and blackish legs. We placed it in the same container as our mexicanas with some rose petals and plum leaves.
Our Mexican bush katydids (Scudderia mexicana) eggs from last year have begun to hatch.
Last year in late summer we collected over a hundred Mexican bush katydids (Scudderia mexicana) eggs laid by a handful of females that we had painstakingly captured, reared, and mated from nymphal stages. Many of the eggs were inserted into leaves or flower petals, probably the most natural location for oviposition in the wild, but it seems that many of these eggs had desiccated along with the leaf over the months sitting a petri dish. A number of eggs were, however, deposited in plastic tape that were apart of the mesh cage that the females were housed in that didn't seem to face this problem.
A few weeks ago, we noticed that the eggs in the tape were becoming noticeably plumper and pinkish in color. On this 5/13 post, we got a few shots of the eggs that show the developing katydids and it was quite evident that they were going to hatch very soon.
The first of the eggs finally hatched today - three of them. They hatch by breaking the egg (which is very flat) with a sharp horn on their heads some place where the two disk-shaped halves of the eggshell come together. The newly emerged katydids are a pale pink which is the same color as the developing eggs (the eggs are probably translucent). After a few hours, they eventually tan into a dirty brownish pink.
After we consolidated the newborns with the two nymphs (one first instar and one second instar) we have, we noticed that the newborns were unwilling to settle down. Whereas the older nymphs rarely stray from the food source, the newborns consistently crawled to the lid of the container. Like most newborn caterpillar that take a day before settling down on host plant, this behavior is probably designed to get them to find a suitable living place considering that eggs in the wild are probably located in all kinds of obscure places on the ground.
Rearing notes for our Mexican bush katydids (Scudderia mexicana). These were collected as nymphs in northern California, May 2017.
Rearing Notes 5/14/17-5/??/17:
We have found a newborn Mexican bush katydid (Scudderia mexicana).
Well this is quite odd. Just yesterday we were looking at our Scudderia mexicana eggs that we had collected from our captive females lasts summer in a petri dish, and had observed that they were near hatching. Well, today we found a newborn nymph, but it wasn't from these eggs. The katydid was inside the cage we had used to house the captive females last year and are currently using for our lineatas and achemons. It was resting on the grape cuttings we had put in for the moths and could've only gotten in the cage by hatching out of an egg lodged in some corner of the cage by the captive females last year. It seems, then, that the wild and captive eggs in the petri dish are quite in synch, as they are hatching around the same time. Also, historically, May has always been when have begun finding the young katydid nymphs of this species.
The newborn katydid is very small and orangish brown, decorated in many black spots and other colors. The antennae are very long and have alternating white and black sections. The hind legs are very long and thin. We remember seeing nymphs like this in past years, but were never quite sure if it was the first instar or not, but apparently it is; they can't possibly get smaller than this when given the size of the egg.
For now, we haven't done anything with the katydid and plan to just leave it in the cage and feed on the grapes. Maybe when it gets larger we'll have to get some larger plants for it.
This timeline is a series of daily posts recording our observations on and experiences with various insects in Albany California and surrounding areas, from 2012-2017. Since we did not publish this site until 2016, posts before that were constructed retroactively. Starting in August 2017, we moved to Ithaca, New York; posts from there on can be viewed at Timeline 2017-present: Ithaca, New York.
August 2017 (49)
July 2017 (121)
June 2017 (79)
May 2017 (77)
April 2017 (91)
March 2017 (35)
February 2017 (12)
January 2017 (10)
December 2016 (12)
November 2016 (26)
October 2016 (49)
September 2016 (84)
August 2016 (94)
July 2016 (99)
June 2016 (53)
May 2016 (21)
April 2016 (4)
January 2016 (1)
August 2015 (3)
July 2015 (3)
June 2015 (2)
June 2014 (3)
May 2014 (1)
April 2014 (3)
March 2014 (3)
December 2013 (2)
November 2013 (2)
October 2013 (5)
September 2013 (11)
August 2013 (15)
July 2013 (9)
June 2013 (5)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (3)
March 2013 (2)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (2)
December 2012 (2)
November 2012 (1)
October 2012 (2)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (1)
June 2012 (1)
Full Species List
(Alphabetical by scientific name)
- Not every species we encounter is necessarily presented on this site, rather a selection of those that were of particular interest to us and that we felt were worth documenting.
- We can't guarantee that all species have been identified accurately, particularly taxa we are not as familiar with.
Battus philenor hirsuta
Coenonympha tullia california
Langia zenzeroides formosana
Orthosia hibisci quenquefasciata
Papilio machaon oregonius
Papilio polyxenes asterius
Samia cynthia advena
Papilio glaucus × Papilio rutulus
Papilio polyxenes asterius × Papilio zelicaon
Araneae (Class: Arachnida)