Currently viewing the category: "ferns and mosses"

Subject:  moss mimic
Geographic location of the bug:  Costa rica
Date: 02/06/2018
Time: 06:45 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Just curious if what this is.
If you want more details of where this was found please let me know.  I have lots more pictures of bugs.  I hope this works out.
Thank you.
How you want your letter signed:  B Wright

Is there a Moss Mimic here?

Dear B Wright,
We feel like we are playing game of “Find Waldo” here because we can’t really see anything in your image that looks like anything but moss.  Perhaps it is the shallow depth of field that is obscuring any moss mimic you observed.  We even magnified the image, cropping to the very center, and we still see nothing that we are able to identify.  We have images of Moss Mimic Katydids from Costa Rica, a Moss Mimic Mantid from Costa Rica and a Moss Mimic Walkingstick from Costa Rica, but in most instances, they were photographed while not camouflaged on moss.  Perhaps you can resend the image, cropping to just where you saw the creature, and we can try again.

Find the Moss Mimic

Update:  Thanks to a new digital file from B Wright and a digitally enhanced image of the original courtesy of Insetologia editor Cesar Crash, we are ready to classify the Moss Mimic as a Katydid.

Maybe this will help.
Can you see it now?

Brian Wright  M.Ed, NBCT, ASM Master Teacher

Moss Mimic Katydid

Hi Brian,
Thanks for sending in a much sharper image.  This is clearly a Katydid, and her ovipositor is also visible, meaning it is a female.  Wing buds are also visible in your new image, meaning is it likely an immature individual or possibly a flightless species, more likely the former.  Cesar Crash of Insetologia digitally enhanced your original image and believes it is a Katydid in the tribe Pleminiini, but his enhancement missed the ovipositor.

Digitally Enhanced Original Image (courtesy of Cesar Crash)

I give up; what are these?
Location: Monterey Park, CA
December 1, 2010 10:48 pm
I’ve looked high & low on the internet in my attempt to figure out what these are but I give up. I imagine they are eggs. By naked eye I thought each black ”raspberry” to be an individual egg, but now that I look at my photos they look a bit more intricate than that.
They were found on the back of chrysanthemum leaves on a flower arrangement today. I am very curious to know what they belong to.
Signature: joAnn

Fern Spores

Hi JoAnn,
We have not had any luck with a conclusive identification, but we do not believe these spore-like things are insect related.  Rather, we believe they may be the spores of some type of Fungus, but we would eagerly welcome assistance from our readership.  We found a site dedicated to Chrysanthemum Diseases and Insect Pests an American Gardening online book page on Chrysanthemum rust, and a Chrysanthemum Plant Health Problems page, but nothing seems to exactly match your photographs.  Whatever they are, they are so evenly distributed.

Fern Spores

Correction:  Fern Spores
Those are the mature spore capsules of the plant itself, which is a fern, not a chrysanthemum leaf. You mentioned it was from an arrangement, so I’m guessing the florist added them to give the arrangement volume, since ferns are quit inexpensive and hardy.If you touch them you’ll get the black dust-like spores on your fingers, but I’ve never heard of anyone having any adverse reactions to them. They may fall off the leaf and make your table dusty though.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for the identification. Ironically, I had just photographed it again as your email came in. I was observing that nothing had hatched but there was now a fine black dust in the container I put the leaves in. I then started to think spores but never did I think they were a part of the plant. My guess was more along the lines of a fungus or something parasitic.
As for the flower arrangement, it didn’t occur to me that what I has was something other than chrysanthemum leaves!
Again, thank you very much for the ID on this. Now I’m going to try to propagate fern 🙂
Have a nice weekend.

Ed. Note: We hope joAnn becomes a successful entrepreneur of cultivated ferns.