Harry’s advent calendar of insects, day 18: Mountain Katydid

This is an Australian species called the Mountain Katydid, Acripeza reticulata:

Male on the left, female on the right.

Obviously, they’re well camouflaged (the female is easily mistaken for a kangaroo turd, apparently); and they have funky-looking stripy legs. But that’s not why I picked them. No; it’s because when you get too close to them, they do this:

Boo!

Bright colours in insects are often a warning that they taste bad, but presumably it also distracts and disconcerts predators.

It reminds me of those fabulous grasshoppers you find in the Mediterranean, which are almost completely invisible until you nearly step on them and they fly off with a flash of blue or red wings.

» ‘Acripeza reticulata female and male’ is © Mark Santos and used under a CC by-nc licence. The photo of a katydid with its wings up is from the marvellous Brisbane Insects and Spiders Home Page and is © Peter Chew.

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