Subject: French cricket?
Location: near Cholet, France (~ 47°N 1°W)
November 11, 2013 6:52 pm
We saw this fellow slowly ambling across a dirt trail near a dairy farm near Cholet, France. As we stood and gakwed, someone said ”get a picture so we can send it to What’s That Bug!” We didn’t manage to get it to pose with a coin before it disappeared in the tall grass, but I think it was about 6cm long.
The bit under the saddle (pardon my technical terminology…) looks particularly interesting, and we were wondering what the tail was used for. Vicious stinger? Ovipositor? Rudder? (Deepest apologies if you are intimidated by my incredible entomological knowledge.)
Many thanks for whatever light you can shed on this startling beast.
Signature: M. Fromage
Dear M. Fromage,
This is a female Shieldback Katydid in the genus Ephippiger, and it is commonly called a Bushcricket. What appears to be a stinger is actually an ovipositor.