Wednesday, August 28, 2013

At last! Greater Anglewings!

“Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick!” Have you heard this sound up in the trees and tall shrubs recently? 

 They are coming from a large, green,  leaf-mimic katydid – the Greater Anglewing (Microcentrum rhombifolium).   I’ve received a number of inquiries about this song recently, so this seems like a good time to write about one of my favorite katydids.  

Their songs remind me of the sound made by wooden claves (a Latin American percussion instrument that looks like two wooden sticks that are tapped together).  They also  make “Tzit!” calls that can be separate from or interspersed with the “tick-tick-ticks.”  Here is an example of both that I recently recorded at the Holden Arboretum in Lake County, NE Ohio. It was chilly - only in the low 60s - so that songs are somewhat slow.

I don’t see these beauties very often because they are generally up in the trees.  However, I have had two close viewings of them in the past two weeks.  I had the honor of finding a Greater Anglewing completing its final molt last week on a magically-warm night after far too many chilly nights that had not been helpful to cricket and katydid maturation.  Here’s what I saw – a newly-emerged adult  expanding its beautiful wings!

I checked back later and found the adult now clearly recognizable as a Greater Anglewing. 

Only a few days earlier, I had found one on a dusty path near the marsh at North Chagrin Reservation in the Cleveland Metroparks.  Clearly, he was in trouble.  Perhaps he had been dropped by a bird?  He was not moving and was rather sandy, but he was quite alive.

I gently moved him from the path and put him in a shrub.   He revived immediately and began to groom himself.  

I eventually coaxed him onto my outstretched finger, he perched there for a bit, and then flew off...

When you hear this insect song next, imagine a large, green leaf that can fly!

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