Here’s another Taxonomy Fail for your edification and/or entertainment. I’m not sure who first mislabeled (or at least, mis-described) this image, but it pulls up on a number of blogs and sites with the erroneous story attached.
“Mantis Cannibalism Eating Mate”
…she’s eating a grasshopper. They *are* bother orthopteroids, but I don’t think it counts.
via Web Ecoist: Three Mate-Eating Animals
A crested grasshopper (Xyleus sp.) in a flooded clover field along the Paraná river.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! (And happy birthday to my brother, Eric.)
The grasshopper above is a member of the lubber family Romaleidae, genus Xyleus, a crested grasshopper. We encountered a number of these large fellows doing field work in Argentina last year. While we were there, frequent rains caused flooding in most of our field sites along the Paraná river. This made working with fire ants difficult. In one notable instance we returned to a line of sugar baits the following day and found tadpoles swimming around them. Not optimal for a fire ant foraging study. We also got to observe lots of insects coping with (and flourishing in) the flooded conditions, as in the case of the grasshopper pictured feeding half underwater below.
Thanks to Paul Lenhart for photos, IDs, and being awesome!
Rhammatocerus sp. grasshopper feeding in a flooded field along the Paraná.
Katydid nymph on a leaf.
Katydids are a member of the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, katydids, crickets, etc.) and the family Tettigoniidae. Orthopteran nymphs, or immatures can be distinguished from adults by the development of their wings. Only adult insects have completely developed wings (think butterflies, beetles, and flies). Immature insects have not yet developed wings (think caterpillars, grubs, and maggots). Katydids, like other orthopterans, have incomplete metamorphosis, meaning they lack a pupal stage (think chrysalis or cocoons). Instead, the immatures generally resemble the adults in appearance, and partially developed stubby wings, called wing pads, may be present in some of the later molts. The nymph above is very young, and has no wings or wing pads present.
Here’s a picture from my own backyard in Texas!
A tiny katydid perches on a leaf.
Katydids are also called ‘long-horned grasshoppers’ in reference to their long antennae. Orthopterans of the suborder Ensifera, or ‘sword-bearing’, generally have antennae longer than their body length as well as exserted ovipositors (sword-like egg-laying tubes that allow females to saw their eggs into plants or insert them down into the fround.) Thus, katydids (like crickets) can be distinguished from grasshoppers by their long slender antennae and legs.
Below, you can see a grasshopper nymph, from the suborder Caelifera. This grasshopper is a member of the family Acrididae, the ‘short-horned grasshoppers.’
A grasshopper nymph perched on a fingertip.