Bushcrickets and meadowhawks

A katydid on a zinnia

One never truly realizes the wealth of insects this region has to offer until they go to track down a positive identity for one.

Thus the inevitable happened, a katydid was misidentified in an earlier post as a grasshopper. The information has since been updated, hence the beauty of online editing.

Crickets, katydids and grasshoppers belong to the order Orthoptera, according to an article titled “How to recognize crickets, katydids, and cicadas by their morphology” posted online at entnemdept.ufl.edu, the University of Florida’s Entomology and Nematology Department website.

The order is divided into two suborders: Caelifera, which includes grasshoppers and relatives, and Ensifera, which includes crickets, katydids and gryllacridoids, the article said.

So, the misidentification issue was a clearly a case of  “right church, wrong pew.”


A grasshopper

A post on www.bugguide.net, simplified things by saying grasshoppers have short antenna and katydids have long antenna.

“Singers” in the Ensifera suborder “that produce calling songs nearly always do so by rubbing the forewings together,” the University of Florida said.

Those in making noise in the Caelifera order “do so by rubbing the hind femurs against the forewings or abdomen or by snapping the wings in flight,” the posting said.

However, a post at Britannica.com said that katydids are also called long-horned grasshoppers or bushcrickets.

Most sites also mention that the katydids, like crickets, save their singing for after the sun goes down.


A meadowhawk dragonfly

The meadowhawk dragonfly can also be hard to narrow down a specific ID.

“The meadowhawks form a group of small, late-season skimmers that can be difficult to tell apart,” said a post from the Wisconsin Odonata survey.

Several websites mentioned that even “the experts” were in disagreement about what taxonomy the insects should be placed under.

Other sites said the meadowhawks would require viewing under a microscope to tell the differences between them.

Venango County is home to the ruby meadowhawk, the band-winged meadowhawk and the autumn meadowhawk, according to a checklist at www.odonatacentral.org.

However, since this citizen-sighting based data, the listing may simply reflect the sightings that have been reported to that website.

Meanwhile, a windy Sunday stripped some of the colors from the autumn trees. Other trees it seems are holding on to summer with many green leaves.


A colorful maple tree


Leaves on the surface of the neighbor’s pond


A spider web is visible after a heavy dew.


Sherman pauses along a leaf-covered path.

(A Walk in the Woods contains photos from newsroom staffer Anna Applegate’s daily jaunts around her neck of the woods. Tagging along on the treks are dogs, Buford, Sherman and Sadie, and goats, Kyle and Kennedy. Applegate manages the Good Times and can be emailed at bigdogs.thederrick@gmail.com)