Subject: What is this?
Location: Gaitlinburg TN USA
May 10, 2014 3:21 pm
Hi , my name is Justin I collect insects as a hobby and have taken a couple entomology classes, but I can’t ID this insect. It looks like some sort of a longhorn beetle . But I believe this is husk or shell. Is this possibly a nymph stage of an insect? This was found in November 2013 near Gaitlinburg TN USA.
Signature: Justin. T
WE are having trouble providing you with a definitive identification, but we can tell you this is not a Longhorn Beetle. This is an Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera, the Longhorned Orthoptera. Furthermore, we believe it is an immature Katydid in the family Tettigoniidae, and the presence of an ovipositor indicates it is a female. This does not appear to be a shed exoskeleton, as there is no evidence of a splitting along the dorsal surface which is where the newly metamorphosed insect would emerge from a cast-off exuvia. Your image is not as sharp as we would like, and we are uncertain if those are spines on the body, or perhaps the remnants of a fungal infection. There are several examples on the Field Biology in Southeastern Ohio page of Carolina Leaf Rollers infected with Cordyceps fungus that look very similar to your image, and we believe that might be an accurate identification. The description on the site states: “Another body invading fungus is Cordyceps. They are known to attack at least a dozen different orders of insects. This is a Carolina Leafroller, Camptonotus carolinensis, a katydid relative. The dark spot at the base of the abdomen, and the long ovipositor verify this as a female leafroller. Cordyceps fungi may be more familiar to some with regards to ants. This is the same genus that affects the brains of certain ants, turning them into zombies. They climb to high points on vegetation, then the fungal spores spring out of their head. Infected ants are recognized by the colony, and individuals are removed so they won’t cause the entire population to die.” So, after our research, we are concluding that this is a female Carolina Leaf Roller, a Raspy Cricket, that has been infected by Cordyceps fungus.