Mystery Insect from the Philippines is a Grasshopper

Subject: Inquiry
Location: Philippines
May 27, 2013 1:59 am
Hi Bugman. I remember sending tons of bugs for identification. I just wonder if it came through, my email’s [edited for content], from the Philippines. Thanks!
Signature: OMAN

Mystery Insect
Grasshopper:  Misythus species

Dear OMAN,
While we commend your enthusiasm to have your insects identified, we are unable to respond to the “tons of bugs for identification” we receive on a daily basis.  This particular submission contains three different photos with no attached information.  We carefully choose which letters to post based on what we believe our readership will find interesting or helpful.  Since we are a free service, we feel no obligation to answer all the mail we receive, though we make an attempt to respond to as many requests as our limited time permits. We prefer letters with helpful information and you have provided us with nothing but a request and a notice that you have submitted “tons of bugs for identification”.  Please confine your future submissions to a single species per request and please provide some information for our staff.  With that said, one of your photos has us especially intrigued.  We have no idea how to classify it and we are not even 100% certain we have correctly identified the head end.  We believe the head is on the left, as it appears there are eyes and antennae under a overhang of some sort.  There also appear to be appendages at the right end of the body.  Only four legs are visible.  We are requesting assistance from our readership on this identification.

Eric Eaton Responds:
Hi, Daniel:
I’d say this is a tetrigid:  Pygmy grasshopper, family Tetrigidae, but it might be some other family that does not occur in North America.

Karl Provides an Identification:  Misythus species
Hi Daniel and Oman:
It’s definitely an Orthopteran and it appears to be a Grouse Locust or Pygmy Grasshopper in the genus Misythus (family Tetrigidae; subfamily Cladonotinae; tribe Echinatini). I can’t categorically exclude all other genera within the Cladonotinae subfamily without doing a lot more research, but I am fairly comfortable with the genus Misythus. There are 27 recognized species, all of them equally bazaar and all endemic to the Philippines.  The Orthoptera Species File Online site has some photos and limited information for most of the species, but I couldn’t find enough information to provide a definitive identification. From what is provided, the best match appears to be M. securifer or perhaps M. banahao, but it could easily be another species as well. It’s a really cool bug; I like it! Regards. Karl

Wow, thanks so much both Karl and Eric.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you very much.
I saw this insect in Pangil, Laguna, Philippines on the way to the waterfalls.It was situated on a branch near our trail. A really interesting find. This was during January 2013.
I actually sent tons of inquiries before but I wasn’t answered. I am just not sure if it came through so I sent some of them again just now in a bundle. I did what you asked before by placing details on where they were seen etc. So I asked if you were able to find some of my queries …
Well if I spot new insects again that would be of interest will surely send them to you. Thanks for the help. I really though the head was on the right. Never occurred to me it was on the other end.

Hi Again OMAN,
Thanks for the additional information on this fascinating Grasshopper.  Please feel free to resend any submissions that still have you curious.  We do tend to get very busy at times and we cannot respond to all of our mail and older submissions tend to get buried.  We will be away from the office for a spell in early June, so any mail that arrives at that time will not be read in a timely manner. 


4 thoughts on “Mystery Insect from the Philippines is a Grasshopper”

  1. It looks to me like the hind legs are tucked under the abdomen on the right. Some sort of grasshopper perhaps?

  2. I am thinking like Jacob that the third pair of legs are visible as the dark angled line going up to the right and the knee joint is just before the rear appendage where it turns and goes back down a lighter colour. Without a scale reference it is hard to work out a group but my first thought was leaf or tree hopper.

    • Thanks Trevor and Jacob. Both of those are likely possibilities. We hope to eventually get a conclusive ID on this critter.

  3. This is most definitely a species of Grasshopper! What awesome mimicry. You can see the hind legs when you enlarge the image. I don’t know more than that at this time.


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