Mating green embiopterans/ earwigs??
June 8, 2009
Work in a park in Berkeley, CA. Riparian, bay-oak-eucalyptus-pine woodland habitat. These two found together June 8, ’09 around Noon. Wingless (yes, wingless), they were the same green color as katydids, white stripe along abdomen (like a tomato hornworm stripe).
Pinchers on abdomen. Female’s (? larger bottom bug- I assume is female) pinchers were open when found, closed after disturbed. Male’s (smaller bug on top?) pinchers open whole time of observation.
Male’s legs and antennae a reddish-brownish-purple; no similar color found on female. Antennae thin, segmented, not clubbed. Chewing mouthparts like a grasshopper’s.
No “swollen” front legs– therefore not embiopterans? No platelike/ scalelike/shiny anything on their bodies (as would be expected from an earwig.) They were pretty squishy -bodied.
Also, 3 darker green thin stripes running along the body, evenly spaced, mesio-dorsal, and 2 lateral darker stripes. Also seemed like thorax was divided into 2 sub-segments.
I love these cute lil guys. Any thoughts? I got nuttin. Thanks for your time.
PS- I LOVE YOUR WEBSITE!!! Hooray curiosity!
Dear Mega-curious Meg,
This is one of our favorite letters ever, for numerous reasons. First, your enthusiasm is positively contagious. We just got a new computer and we are trying to catch up on old mail. Your letter arrived during a week long absence, and our sloooowwwwwww old computer did not allow us to post as much mail as we would have liked. The minute we saw your subject line, we were intrigued. Imagine our glee when we opened your letter and saw photos of a genus of insects whose range is pretty much confined to California and Mexico. These are Timemas. They are the only genus in the family Timematidae and they are classified in the order Phasmatodea which includes Walkingsticks. BugGuide has some photos, including a mating image. We are thrilled that your letter also includes a mating image of Timemas. Here is what Charles Hogue has to say about this fascinating insect in his book, Insects of the Los Angeles Basin: “Timemas are not typical walkingsticks. They are only 1/2 to 1 inch (13 to 25 mm) long and are considerably shorter and stouter than the other local species. Although usually mottled green in color, brown or pinkish individuals frequently occur. There are several local species; Timema californica seems to be dominant. It lives on chaparral shrubs and oaks in our surrounding mountains, especially the Santa Monicas and San Gabriels. Individuals may be common in the spring on Scrub Oak (Quercus dumosa) and wild lilac (Ceanothus). When disturbed this insect can produce a disagreeable odor.” Again Meg, thanks so much for your wonderful contribution, and we hope our letter hasn’t arrived too late to be of benefit.