Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sometimes biodiversity surprises you by appearing in unexpected places. Walking through the garden from the garage, this juvenile or nymph katydid jumped onto a load of clean laundry and rode into the house.

Katydids are herbivorous insects and they do nibble on my roses at night. But they also are important food for many of the bird and lizards that eat insects in my yard. As long as predators can find clean, safe food in our yard, they come and maintain a balance. Only two or three katydids seem to survive to adulthood.

Two species of katydids, common in the Los Angeles area, are both residents in our yard.

This nymph is a fork-tailed bush katydid (Scudderia mexicana); it will grow up to be all green with long, thin leaf-shaped wings.

The other species we see is the broad-winged katydid (Microcentrum rhombifolium) To see a photo of this classic, katydid with wide, green leaf-shaped wings.

Insects that eat your plants are best kept in check by a balanced ecosystem with predators. Put the insecticides aside and attract insect predators to your yard.

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