Hopping critters of our garden
Hop hop hop!
Grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, and similar insects. Interesting creatures...
The song of this blacklegged meadow katydid (Orchelimum nigripes, or perhaps
Orchelimum pulchellum) carries all
through our yard, and seems to be close by no matter where I happen to be
wandering. But there is only one male around, and that's the one pictured here.
This immature katydid was lounging on a persicaria in our side garden
for days, its wings getting slightly more defined every day. After not
much action in the development area for nearly two weeks, all of a sudden
overnight a major transformation – to the handsome one in the photo below. It's
most likely a greater angle-wing katydid, Microcentrum rhombifolium
This jittery fellow is a drumming katydid (Meconema thalassinum).
He belongs to the quiet-calling katydids, and sure enough, I didn't hear him
calling at all. Ben caught him in our back lawn one evening.
It's good to have a bug boy around!
Spotted this little dude on a Filipendula leaf one early-June
morning. His stripey antennae suggest that it's a nymph of a Scudder's bush
katydid (Scudderia) species. I don't believe I've come across its adult
form yet (I guess I should be on the lookout).
Pennsylvania, June 2012
And here's another one, quite possibly from the same
species (but a more advanced instar). Like the one above, I found it in early
June, this one on an eglantine rose.
Pennsylvania, June 2014
The first katydid I spotted in Texas was trilling in a mass
of Turnera ulmifolia one October afternoon as
I was digging a new border nearby. It was good to be serenaded, and he sat
pretty for a picture too. It's a species of Orchelimum, I can't be sure
Texas, October 2018
As was the case in Pennsylvania, I seem to find the nymphs
but not the adults of Scudderia katydids. This one was sunning itself on
a luxuriant rose flower in mid-April, not at all intent to move as I snapped
its photo from various angles.
Texas, April 2021
Planthoppers and their ilk
Diminutive critters with amazing jumping powers. Many don't look like much
until you see them up close with the advantage of macro photography.
Tiny thing spotted on a goldfinch heuchera - not until seeing the digital
photo did I really know he looked so cool. It's probably an Acanalonia
conica, or flatid planthopper (don't you love the name?).
Pennsylvania, July 2004
Another little colorful one, this one hanging out on a
butterfly milkweed. It's a saddled leafhopper (Colladonus clitellarius),
not one I've seen a lot of in our garden.
Pennsylvania, June 2014
A meadow spittlebug decided my knee was just the place to be.
Pennsylvania, August 2004
Very colorful little thing, this red-banded or candy-striped leafhopper
(Graphocephala coccinea) – although it takes a close-up view to really
appreciate it. Apparently, this one feeds on a wide variety of garden plants, and
doesn't usually cause serious damage.
Pennsylvania, September 2004
Another not-too-bright-looking planthopper, this one most likely a specimen of
Pennsylvania, July 2005
My first leafhopper spotting in Texas – this glassy-winged sharpshooter
(Homalodisca vitripennis) is a good bit larger than the little hoppers
above. I found it lounging (for hours) on the trunk of a fig tree. It's native
to here; in California, where it was accidentally introduced, it's a significant pest of
vineyards, due to its propensity for spreading bacterial disease.
Texas, June 2017
Another Texan find, the speckled sharpshooter (Paraulicizes irrorata)
is actually distributed across a wide swath of eastern North America up
through Canada. I found this one resting on a Duranta leaf one hot mid-day
in June. By the time I realized its photo had come out fuzzy, he had vacated
This red-eyed demon is a two-lined spittlebug (Prosapia bicincta),
found lounging on a columbine one spring afternoon. I'm not sure what it was doing there,
because my sources say adults feed on hollies and redbuds (while their younguns prefer
to munch on grasses).
Texas, May 2022
I hear you, but where are you? That's usually what I think when I hear boy
crickets singing, but once in a while I'm patient enough to spot one and take
its picture. The results of those efforts are shown here.
As small as it is, the red-headed bush cricket (Phyllopalpus
pulchellus) is one of the primary noise-makers in our garden in late
summer and fall. I came upon
the couple pictured above one morning in fall – the male is clearly singing
as pretty as he can, the female is approaching from behind. When the guy
spotted me, he stormed off indignantly. The one at left is a nymph -- no wings
have developed yet.
Unidentified female bush cricket (maybe Say's trig - see below) sitting on
the paulownia tree of love.
This is a female Say's trig (Anaxipha exigua), a
small species that usually hides itself well enough not to be seen. Several
of them were sitting in our large Viburnum trilobum one sunny day in autumn.
I was sitting at the kitchen table one November
afternoon, cleaning seeds from a bundle of seedheads I had gathered, when I
noticed this cricket had emerged from the plant material. She sat very
quietly, even after I moved her back outside, and made for an excellent
photo subject. Most likely a species of Hapithus, the flightless bush
Another member of the Hapithus family, this one a
male – most likely
H. agitator (a.k.a. the restless bush cricket). It was hiding in some swiss chard I had harvested, in late
August. You can really see the yellow rim around its wing structures in this picture.
Unidentified grass-hopping youngster (here spotted on a blade of siberian iris)
Two differential grassphoppers (Melanoplus differentialis) having at it.
The big mama stuck around for several more days, the little daddy was gone soon
First grasshopper I've managed to commit to film (of the
digital variety) in Texas. It's a male Schistocerca damnifica in the
clan of bird grasshoppers, which also includes the biblical locusts. I like
its stripey eyes.
Texas, December 2017
Another bird grasshopper spotted a few years later, this is
an obscure bird grasshopper (Schistocerca obscura). The
ladies reach greater sizes than the gents, so since this was quite a large
specimen, I'm thinking it was a girl. But she was shy and didn't sit for
better photos, so I can't be sure. Wavey-striped eyes on this one, too.
Texas, July & August 2021
Visitors to this page have left the following comments
|Aug 30, 2012
|Thank you for this wonderful information and the pictures! I finally know my little jumpie pet is a drumming katydid! I caught one in BC and he's adorable :)
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