30 January 2012

Caedicia sp. – Orange/mustard Morph

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Caedicia sp. – Orange/mustard Morph

Insects in the Caedicia genus are commonly known as Bush Katydids from the large Tettigonioidea family. These particular Katydids are normally green, so this orange/mustard form is unusual and not known to Dr David Rentz (Australian authority). However in the Mt. Merivale district 20 km (12 miles) east of Esperance it may not be so unusual, as I have also encountered an early nymph (not photographed) with the same colouration, although the wings were only partially developed.

Apparently there is much work still to be done on Caedicia, with as many species remaining undescribed as there are officially named and even these are in need of revision. These Katydids are herbivorous and the above were found crawling through Taxandria callistachys, an upright shrub that grows in large dominant colonies in and around swamps, and produces small clusters of white tea-tree like flowers for most of the year (see habitat shot).

The head and body length of the above female was around 2.5 cm (1”), but she had longer wings. A very small ovipositor (typical for these Katydids) can be seen in the hand-held photo of her, which is used by this group to lay eggs between layers within a leaf, or in rows along twigs, stems, or in the ground. The Katydid above was reluctant to fly, preferring to climb through the vegetation, but when she did, it was more of a flutter that did not carry her far. The insects were seen in December and January.

Further reading: A Guide to the Katydids of Australia by David Rentz.