Beetleforum security issues should be over now. Time to start posting again!
Ironically, I just got locked out of Google...
Edit: And Roachforum, too...
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Posted 21 December 2017 - 06:11 PM
If our admin Peter doesn't mind, I'll be dumping my new blog posts here until I get my google password back.
How to bag a katydid (continued further, and with some other good news)
I've been able to get my Cotinis mutabilis (green fruit scarab) cage to remain stink-free for quite a while, apparently due to my careful positioning of wet paperballs. It stank for a short while after a defecation, but the smell dissipated. Presumably, the dry bedding paper soaked the unpleasantness up. If all goes according to plan, finding a scarab-sitter for my two week trip will become much easier. One less thing to torture me in my sleep, hopefully C:
The cf. Coniontis (small round darkling beetle) has been rather inactive lately, and was observed sitting in the bottom of its papertowel-filled jar on several days and nights. Presumably, it hates the cold (66-69 degrees F in the house) as much as I do.
A recent survey (12/19) of the garden of garden carabids (it's not mine) at night revealed no orthopteran insects singing. An unidentified brown carabid beetle (apparently wet and limping) and a wriggly small red centipede in a similarly miserable state were seen on the ground, along with the ubiquitous tule beetle cf. Tanystoma maculicolle and other normal nocturnal ground-wanderers, including pillbugs, slugs, an earwig (European, I think) and a few of the local mottled brown weevils. Since the two-week trip is coming soon, I didn't collect anything. I do plan on experimenting with the weevils to determine dietary preferences, though.
Katydid journal: How to make two wrongs into a right
I went outside for a casual walk and saw a Scudderia medium-large nymph on a rose leaf. As previously stated, the local Scudderia bush-katydids were annoying me greatly by being both undesirable (too jumpy and thus risky to keep captive) and abundant. Being frustrated, I synthesized a half-baked idea out of pure wishfulness: Because Scudderia and Microcentrum (my intended target) are both phaneropterine katydids, shouldn't the former be just as tame as the latter?
I prodded the Scudderia nymph, only half-believing my poorly-formulated idea. To my surprise, it did not panic and walked calmly onto my hand. It looked healthy (there were large bitemarks on its leaf), but was missing a hind leg. Incredulous, I lifted it to a hibiscus flower, and it promptly began plucking and eating anthers.
In the past, I have interacted with Scudderia, and all were quite nervous about it. Although they would not jump if held cautiously enough and seemed nearsighted, their tension was almost perceivable. The flower-eating adult from 12/18 happily downed pollen in front of me until I dropped a stamen-bearing stalk gently onto its flower. It paused comically and did not resume eating until a while later. Nymphs tended to be slightly more daring, and would immediately start eating if I placed them onto pollen and stopped touching them. Since there only seems to be one species in the area, I was thus quite surprised at the tameness of this particular nymph and began looking for other individuals to experiment with. Of course, nothing is ever there when you need it, and despite seeing many katydids only days before there was not another one in sight today.
"My" nymph ate half the anthers off an anther stalk before becoming apparently satiated and resting in a nearby leaf for the rest of the day. After a few hours, it was still tame as ever, which was strange. If it was simply chilled from the relatively mild winters here or otherwise weakened, it would have recovered after digesting its meal and sitting in the daytime heat. I once rescued a half-dead hoverfly (appearance identical to Eristalinus taeniops) from a supermarket window, and after only a few minutes of honey-lapping it went from twitching morbidly to performing aerobatic feats.
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