Friday, September 18, 2009
Classic (forktailed) Katydid or a Newer Model?
This adult female katydid caught my eye not only because she was perched on the side of my pickup truck; she is smaller (about 70% the size) than the average or regular forktailed bush katydids (Scudderia furcata) that frequent the yard. Also she is darker green and more textured, if that makes sense, in appearance. Coloration in S. furcata is variable, though, so coloration alone doesn't suggest another species. No, She's probably not just an unusual individual of the same old species, rather she is an introduced katydid species, Phaneroptera nana, the Mediterranean katydid. Interestingly this species seems to be limited to the San Francisco bay area and urban southern California so far. One source cited the introduction being before the 1950s; and the author thought the katydids might be associated with Plumbago plantings. There is no plumbago in my garden, but plumbago has blue flowers; my truck is blue; hmmm, coincidence? Anyway, this katydid remains one with good taste in trucks: 1992 F150 w/straight 6, fleetside in dark blue, one-owner, in need of a little work, runs great.
Thanks Cindy for the info! I know I have seen one chubby middle-stage nymph of this species; I'll be on the lookout for the subtle differences in the younger ones from now on.