Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Orchelimum pulchellum’

Initially I couldn’t figure out what large insect this Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) had captured on Friday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. When the bluebird turned to the side, however, I realized that it was a Handsome Meadow Katydid (Orchelimum pulchellum), one of my favorite insects. The bluebird beat the insect against the log on which it was perched, presumably to subdue the katydid or to break open its hard shell, before consuming it.

It is hard to truly appreciate the beauty of the multi-colored katydid from a distance, so I am including a close-up photo of a Handsome Meadow Katydid from a posting that I did in August 2013 that was entitled “Rainbow grasshopper.” Check out my thoughts and feelings in that post about one of my initial encounters with such a katydid.

Still, bluebirds have to eat too, so I experienced only a brief moment of sorrow at the demise of this beautiful little creature.

Eastern Bluebird

Handsome Meadow Katydid

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Do you have a favorite insect? This is such a strange question that most folks would not have an immediate answer and would have to stop and think a bit before responding. The quickest responses would undoubtedly come from those who simply do not like insects at all. The most common positive answer, I suspect, might well be a Monarch Butterfly.

Many readers know that I see lots of beautiful dragonflies and butterflies, but my favorite insect is almost certainly the Handsome Meadow Katydid (Orchelimum pulchellum), like this one that I photographed on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I remember my sense of awe and amazement the first time that I spotted one—I couldn’t believe my own eyes, because the combination of colors seemed so bright and almost unreal. When I initially posted a photo of the Handsome Meadow Katydid, one of my friends thought that I had added the colors in Photoshop.

To this day, I never fail to marvel at a Handsome Meadow Katydid’s spectacular rainbow colors and incredible blue eyes and am always thrilled to discover again their amazing beauty when I am fortunate enough to find one.

Handsome Meadow Katydid

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

The rays of sunshine illuminated her face and our eyes met and Katy and I shared a moment when time seemed to stand still. Alas, the spell was soon broken and she abandoned me. Yes, Katy did.

I took this shot last weekend at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetlands Refuge at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. I believe that “Katy” is a Handsome Meadow Katydid (Orchelimum pulchellum), although much of the katydid’s body remained in the shadows so I am not one hundred percent sure of the species identification, though the length of the antennae makes me confident that it is a katydid and not a grasshopper.

It was a fun challenge to get this shot, which I decided to post uncropped. I was sprawled on the ground, trying to get at eye level with the katydid and move in as closely as I could without disturbing the stalks of grass. For a shot like this, my 180mm macro lens was perfect, though I really have to focus on technique to make sure that my shooting position is steady, given that the lens does not have any built-in image stabilization (VR for Nikon folks).

Handsome Meadow Katydid

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

Do you have a favorite insect? I realize that’s a strange question and, if pressed, most people probably would respond with the name of a butterfly or perhaps a ladybug or a dragonfly, but my favorite is unquestionably the Handsome Meadow Katydid (Orchelimum pulchellum).

Two summers ago, I had my initial encounter with the rainbow-colored grasshopper-like insect at my local marshland park and it was love at first sight. It was so unexpected to see those beautiful blue eyes staring at me with apparent curiosity. The amazing colors of the body are so vivid and varied that one of my friends accused me of creating them in Photoshop. I can’t help but be cheered up by the mere sight of one of these beauties.

There was a lot of reconstruction work at my marsh this past year and water levels are a lot higher than in the past. All summer I waited for my friends to reappear, fearing that the changed habitat or the polar vortex of this past winter had adversely affected their survival. Suddenly, two weeks ago I started hearing from others that the Handsome Meadow Katydids were back.

Last week, I finally saw a few of these beauties myself and took this shot of one of them. In addition to the gorgeous colors, you can’t help but notice the really long legs and antennae (is one of them missing).

I don’t care who you are—you have to agree that these katydids really are handsome, even if it’s not at the top of your list. As for me, it’s still my favorite.

Handsome Meadow Katydid

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

As was watching this Handsome Meadow Katydid (Orchelimum pulchellum) through my viewfinder,  it suddenly arched its body and assumed a position worthy of an world-class gymnast or yoga master. What was it doing?

rainbow_gymnastics_blog

My first thought was that the katydid was merely stretching, getting ready for the day’s activities. When you jump around as much as these insects do, you can’t risk a pulled muscle or other injury by not warming up properly.

Over the past year, this rainbow-colored katydid has become my favorite insect, but I confess that I don’t much about their anatomy. Looking over my photos, I realized that I needed to identify the orange-colored body part, a part that I don’t recall observing before, in order to figure out what was going on. What could it possibly be?

rainbow_gymnastics3_blog

Well, it looks like this katydid probably is a female and the orange-colored thing is her ovipositor, the organ used for depositing eggs. So, is she depositing eggs in the photos? I am not sure.

A University of Arkansas website describes the ovipositing for a similar katydid with these words, “An ovipositing female embraces a plant stem with her prothoracic and mesothoracic legs and brings the curved and sword-like ovipositor far forward so its tip can scrape the substrate.” It’s not really helpful when the explanation contains so many words with which I am unfamiliar. I think that I will leave this kind of science to the scientists.

As a photographer, I continue to be amazed by the multi-colored beauty of this fascinating insect and especially by its alluring blue eyes. I know that it’s an illusion, but those eyes often seem to be looking right at me. I’m not sure if this Handsome Meadow Katydid is depositing eggs in these photos, but I am sure that  I like the images a lot, including the final image, which shows the katydid in a more “normal” position following her brief series of gymnastics.

rainbow_gymnastics2_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Looking into a Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos), I immediately noticed the distinctive colors of a Handsome Meadow Katydid (Orchelimum pulchellum), feeding on the center stalk of the flower.

The katydid did not move from its position and merely cocked its head a little to the side and glanced up at me with its striking blue eyes. It seemed to be a little irritated to be disturbed, though I must confess that it’s really hard to gauge the emotions of an insect from its expressions.

The Handsome Meadow Katydid is one of my favorite insects and, in my humble opinion, truly deserves its name. In addition to its rainbow coloration and distinctive eyes, it has the cutest little feet and toes.

katy_mallow1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

Let me introduce you to the coolest-looking insect I have ever encountered, the Handsome Meadow Katydid (Orchelimum pulchellum), an insect that I photographed this past weekend at my local marsh. The name just seems to fit the insect perfectly, unlike so many other insects that seem to have been named almost randomly.

I still recall the first time that I encountered a Handsome Meadow Katydid last summer and the resulting double take—I could not believe what my eyes were seeing. The bright colors of the body were astonishing and seemed so unreal that one of my friends wondered if I had colorized the photo.

It’s the eyes, though, that make this insect so attractive for me. There is just something so alluring about those blue eyes, eyes that I don’t expect to see in an insect.

I got some pretty good shots of Handsome Meadow Katydids last year, but was growing concerned that I would not see many this year (you can tell it’s a katydid, in part, because of the length of the antennae). I actually heard this katydid before I saw it. I was passing by a small bush and hear a kind of vibrating sound. I put my ear closer and closer to the plant and finally spotted the source.

I had to go pretty wide in cropping the shot, because the katydid was stretched out along the small branch. Click on the image if you want see a higher resolution view of the photo, including those amazing eyes.

rainbow1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »