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It's hollyhock season again.

Some plants just have flower buds.

Others are flowering.

Once again, having a certain kind of plant means having a certain kind of insect.

In this case, the insects are oblong-winged katydid nymphs.

Wow, those antennae are so long.

I checked, and I had found the same kind of katydid nymphs on May 1, 2013. They were also on hollyhocks.

I only have a few hollyhock plants in my yard, and I'm pretty sure none of my immediate neighbors have them. I wonder how the katydids even find them, let alone show up with such regularity.

I guess if you eat mainly hollyhocks, you're probably pretty great at finding them.

2

Remember the little brown katydid from two weeks ago?

katydid-nymph-close-upI didn't see any katydids last week, but this might be why:

green-katydid-on-zinnia-131

There is now a slightly larger green katydid on the zinnias.

Is it the same katydid? Of course I have no way of knowing for sure. Insects do molt their exoskeletons in order to grow, and it is possible that some katydids change color when they molt. It apparently is the same species, at least.

By the way, now the aphids and lacebugs are completely gone. Wonder what will show up next week...

Insect Molting Activity for Kids:

When teaching about insect metamorphosis, one easy way to have children to act out molting is to put a large shirt on the child backwards (the insect's exoskeleton usually splits down the back). Don't button the shirt, but overlap the sides so it lays down in the back. Ask the child to get out of the shirt, or molt, without using their hands. Most children learn pretty quickly how to wiggle and squirm their way out, but it does give them an impression of how complicated it is for the insect.

Have you ever seen an insect molt?

2

A few days ago I planted a few zinnias with the hope of attracting insects.

katydid-nymph-brown-march

It is working out already. Can you spot the insect? Hint:  look for the antennae.

katydid-nymph-close-upPerhaps this close up will help.

It seems amazing that something as small as this tiny katydid nymph could find these flowers so quickly.

Can't wait to see what shows up next!