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The other day I discovered an immature katydid sitting on a Desert Marigold. Katydids are cousins of grasshoppers and superficially resemble them. One distinguishing feature between katydids and grasshoppers is that katydids have super long antennae whereas grasshoppers tend to have short antennae. There are about 6400 species of this insect and they are distributed worldwide, with the exception of Antarctica. Most katydids are plant eaters but there are some predatory species.
In many species of katydids the young insects at least superficially resemble the adults except that they are flightless. They undergo a series of molts as they mature, shedding their exoskeletons several times. With each molt the youngsters look more and more like their parents. They acquire wings with their final molt.
I was entranced by this young insect. It is beautiful, displaying a rainbow of colors on its body. Its ultra long hind legs are just amazing. I have no doubt that these legs enable the katydid to make prodigious leaps. This katydid’s body is only about one-half inch in length, but add those legs and antennae and the insect is over two inches long.
Images made with a Canon 5DS-R, 180mm f3.5L Macro lens assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite and stabilized by monopod, M setting, ISO 160, f16 @ 1/160.