Bug in Florida
Location: NW Florida
July 8, 2011 6:37 pm
looked like a grasshopper but with a tail. When approached it antenna went wide. When placed on ground it scurried but did not hop. Dogs have been digging in yard lately, it is unusual behavior for them. Could they be digging these up and eating them? If they are eating them are they toxic? I also have kids and wonder if they pose any danger?
Signature: Theresa Lawson
This is an Eastern Shieldback Katydid in the genus Atlanticus, which we identified on BugGuide and she is a female as evidenced by her long ovipositor which you have called a tail. BugGuide states that they are “Said to be strong biters” however, they do not possess any venom, and it is questionable that a bite would even draw blood. They are not a toxic species, so you don’t need to fear for your dogs’ health should they happen to eat them, nor do you need to have anything to fear if your children eat them. Many members of the insect order Orthoptera, which includes Katydids, are considered valuable food sources in areas of the world that do not find entomophagy to be repulsive. There is a movement afoot of late to educate the public on the nutritional value of insects, and David Gracer, a noted expert in the area of entomophagy, frequently notifies us when we post images of insects that are consumed in various parts of the world. We are going to go out on a limb and tag this as an Edible Insect, and we will copy David Gracer on this response so that he can provide his input.
Hi Daniel and Theresa,
Your tagging of this insect is correct; like just about all North American Orthoptera [I don’t know of any exceptions], this species would be entirely edible for dogs or people. I’ve tried katydids from Florida, as well as lubber grasshoppers; the latter are gamey and not entirely pleasant to eat, but katydids are generally quite tasty [though they spoil very quickly, so they must be fresh].
I’m making good progress on securing a commercial source of processed katydids from Uganda; they are are called Nsenene there, are in the genus Ruspolia, and are quite similar to the American genus Neoconocephalus. They’re totally delicious, and I’ll make an official announcement on WTB when they are in.