Subject: What’s on my Woody Plant?
Location: Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Dear What’s That Bug?
I spotted a crazy bug eating a spider on my woody plant. I know this isn’t the best picture (attached), it was at dusk and I was using the light of a headlamp and an iPhone, but hopefully you can decipher what’s happening.
Stacked Up in Mt. Washington,
Dear Max Yield,
This is a Longhorned Orthopteran nymph from the suborder Ensifera, and having it living on your woody plant might not be the best long term plan. You don’t want spiders getting eaten as they are predatory and beneficial, and the Orthopteran is likely an omnivore that will eventually eat leaves and possibly even buds. We suspect this is some species of Katydid, and young nymphs like this can be difficult to correctly identify to the species level. In our own garden, we allow Katydids to eat rose blossoms, but you might not want anything to reduce your maximum yield. We enjoy the sound of the Katydids at night in our garden, so we would not harm this very young, possibly second instar nymph, but we would not think twice about relocating it elsewhere in the garden as they are not especially particular about what plants they eat. Since creating our What’s on my Woody Plant? tag, we have gotten some flack from our Facebook followers. On August 8, Nancy Barlow wrote “Get some new material…. not funny any longer….” Within an hour and a half, Amy Holder wrote: “Yeah im over the woody plant coverage as well. There are other sites dude can post and show off all his weed. Gtfo.” We didn’t know that “get the fuck out” had an acronym until we looked it up. We can’t believe that people who follow us think that being funny is our prime objective or that we are interested in showing off weed. We attempt to identify insects and things that crawl, and we occasionally devote tags to specific groups of plants with robust Arthropod populations, including the Milkweed Meadow and the Goldenrod Meadow. Furthermore, we believe in the malleability of the English language, and using regional terms has a certain charm. We would never disparage anyone who used the terms herb or mota.