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Environment

Every Day Wonders: Look Who Came Knocking

ImaGeo iconImaGeoBy Tom YulsmanSeptember 22, 2014 7:26 PM
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A true katydid clinging to my front door. (Photo: ©Tom Yulsman) In early September, I launched a new semi-regular feature here at ImaGeo, "Every Day Wonders," with a photo of a blossoming thundercloud over unusually verdant fields here in Colorado.

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Moe. (©Tom Yulsman) The image above is the second installment. Doing her (or his?) best to imitate a leaf, this katydid was clinging to my front door here in Niwot, Colorado on Sunday. I spotted her when a neighbor also came knocking to return my dog, Moe, who had escaped the back yard through an open gate. (That's Moe in the thumbnail at right.) This katydid's normal habitat would be in the tops of the trees, where her leaf-mimicking color and patterning would help her escape the attention of birds, bats and other predators. When I opened the door to speak to my neighbor, I caught sight of her out of the corner of my eye and thought, momentarily, that she was a leaf. But that seemed odd: How was a leaf clinging to my door? At that point, my neighbor pointed her out, and I dashed inside to get my camera. Katydids are in the Tettigoniidaefamily. They're related to grasshoppers, from which they can be distinguished by their very long antennae that can be longer than their bodies. By contrast, grasshoppers feature much shorter antennae. On summer and early autumn nights, male katydids "sing" to attract mates by rubbing their front wings together. To some human ears, the "lyrics" sound like "Katy did, Katy didn't" — thus, the common name for this lovely insect. Check it out here.

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