||[Jun. 2nd, 2008|11:53 pm]
Hello everyone! I just joined this community today.
This picture was taken a couple years ago when I went on a trip to Dominica. I caught this giant female katydid. That's my hand holding it in the photo! I like katydids and this is the biggest one I've seen. She tried to bite me the whole time I was holding her... that was kind of scary.
If you click on the photo, it'll show you the bigger version.
Katydids (Tettigoniidae) are mainly active at night, eat mostly plants, and the males produce loud calls to attract the females. They are related to crickets (Gryllidae), but if you find them, one of the ways you can tell the difference is by their ovipositor shape. (That's that long thing pointing down at the end of the abdomen and it's where the eggs come out.) The katydid ovipositor is blade shaped and flat, the cricket's is a thin needle shape. Anyway, hope you like it!
And to make this a bit more WTF, here's something kind of weird about katydids: their mating habits! The male sticks this thing he secretes (called a spermatophore) onto the female's abdomen. It's a big white glob of his sperm PLUS lots of nutrients for the female. The female bends back and eats it while the sperm are going inside her and fertilizing her eggs. It takes a while for her to eat the whole thing. The bigger the nutritious outer part of it is, the longer it takes the female to get down to the sperm filled part at the bottom, the more of his sperm will make it inside the female before she can eat them all up, and the more eggs the male will be able to fertilize. So some katydid males produce these "special gifts" as big as 30% of their own body weight. Here's a couple pix of that, plus some more funky looking katydids I found online.