Subject: Mongolian insect
February 22, 2014 11:06 am
I was in Mongolia and saw this giant cricket/grasshopper like creature. The biggest one I saw measured about 4 inches in length. They had no visible wings and only crawled along the ground much like a potato bug.
This Orthopteran is a Shieldback Katydid. We will try to contact Piotr Naskrecki to see if he is able to provide a genus or species name.
Piotr Naskrecki provides an identification
A very interesting creature – this katydid is Deracantha, probably D. mongolica (Tettigoniidae: Bradyporinae: Zichyini). This group of insects has an interesting mix of very advanced and basal (“primitive”) morphological characters that may help explain the origin of sound production in katydids. Some species in this tribe have highly modified tarsi (feet) that are equipped with crampons-like spikes that help them walk on smooth rocks.
Piotr Naskrecki, Ph. D.
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
Thanks so much Piotr,
So, it is a Katydid, but not a Shieldback, and it is in a subfamily that is not represented in North America, correct?