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Last month while I was in western New York I found this critter.

It seemed to be a grasshopper, but with very long antennae.

I backed out to try to get all the antennae in the frame. Then it struck me that it felt like trying to take a photograph of katydid nymphs back home (previous post).

The insects we usually think of as grasshoppers don't have such long antennae.

This little guy is actually a meadow katydid or longhorned grasshopper (genus Conocephalus).

Meadow katydids don't sing the katy-did, katy-did of regular katydids. They tend to buzz or rattle, instead.

Here's an example of a common meadow katydid singing.

Did you notice one of its antennae was shorter? Likely it got broken off, which seems it could be a real hazard with such long ones.

Check out all the different meadow katydid songs at the Songs of Insects website including one that sounds like a lawn sprinkler.

Have you heard meadow katydids sing?

What is this?

It is a true bug because it has a triangle shape in the middle of its back. Let's take a closer look.

It also has enlarged front legs for grasping prey. This is an ambush bug, Subfamily Phymatinae.

Check out those orange eyes.

Ambush bugs sit on flowers and wait for other insects or spiders to come by. When the unsuspecting prey gets too close, ambush bugs grab it with their front legs. They are a lot like praying mantids.

We've never featured ambush bugs for Bug of the Week before because they don't live in this part of Arizona. The photographs are from western New York.

If you have a minute, this video shows an ambush bug in action (Note:  Video is set to music). You can see the antennae have wider segments at the end, called a club. That is a characteristic of the group. You can also see the wings are part leathery and part membranous like all true bugs.

Did you see its short beak? True bugs have sucking mouthparts.

The ambush bug looks so clumsy and clunky, but it can strike fast.

Have you ever seen an ambush bug?


Last week we had photographs for insects for A-M, now let's finish the alphabet.

Northern two-striped walkingstick

Oleander aphids

Praying mantis

Queen butterfly

Rustic sphinx moth

Sawfly larva (love that color)

Tarantula hawk

Underwing moth caterpillar

Velvet ant (wasp)


Xylocopa virginica - carpenter bee

Yellow jacket wasp

Zebra butterfly

That wasn't too bad. I only had to resort to scientific names once.

So, now you know your insect ABC's!