27 July 2009

Green Westwind Katydid - Windbalea viride

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Green Westwind Katydid - Windbalea viride

A very distinctive katydid from the south coast of WA, but currently it is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species, a listing just below the 'extinction in the wild' category. In the Banksia speciosa heath to the east of Esperance it is still reasonably common, but even here in this locally widespread habitat, there are many areas that have been cleared, degraded or become disjointed, which for an insect relying heavily on this type of vegetation, its long-term viability is of concern.

As can be seen in the above photographs the Green Westwind Katydid was only encountered feeding on the flowers of Banksia speciosa, which may include not only the nectar, but also the pollen.

The wings are held stiffly at an angle from the body, making identification easy and it is thought this distinctive wing arrangement may aid the katydid's camouflage, for when at rest in a leafy environment the elevated wings appear as a green leaf or the base of a stem. However juveniles lack wings, therefore cannot camouflage themselves in the same manner, so presumably must hide the best they can.

The Australian Faunal Directory lists two katydid species in the Windbalea genus, but only Windbalea viride is found locally. Those photographed above were encountered from November to late February.

My thanks to Dr David Rentz for identification.