Superb Katydid from Australia

Subject: Crested Katydid
Location: Western Australia
March 18, 2014 9:43 pm
Hi Bugman,
I took this photo of what I think is a Crested/Superb Katydid in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia. I thought that it looked very interesting and might make a good photo for your website.
Kind regards,
Signature: Zoe

Crested Katydid
Crested Katydid

Dear Zoe,
Thank you so much for sending in your wonderful image of a Superb Katydid,
Alectoria superba, a magnificent Australian species.  We haven’t gotten a new image of a Superb Katydid in several years.  According to the Australian Museum blog:  “Also known as the Superb Katydid, this species is the only member of its genus which means it has no close relatives – which is not surprising as no other type of grasshopper anywhere in the world looks like it. this species is widespread in central Australia but seems to be relatively uncommon. This probably is the effect of the unpredictable seasonal nature of the rains out west. When there have been good rains in the warmer months these spectacular katydids have been found on a variety of plants and in places ranging from remote areas to suburban gardens. Some individuals show more yellow coloration and some appear greener. Little is known of their biology and life cycle but it appears as though this katydid feeds on flowers rather than the foliage of a number of plant species. It will also eat nectar and pollen from the same flowers. The females have a very short ovipositor, or egg laying tube, and as a result they probably stick their eggs to the side of plant stems rather than burying them in bark, or the ground, as do other katydids – but in truth we do not know. Nor do we know what happens to these katydids during excessive or long dry seasons. We don’t even know what the purpose of the strange crest on the back is for, but both sexes have this to an equal degree and it is hollow inside. “

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