My husband and I have been adopted by what I believe is a katydid (photos below). S/he’s missing a back leg but otherwise seems okay and has been living on our patio for the past two days. I’ve been feeding our new friend romaine and “spring mix” lettuces, which s/he consumes with great enthusiasm. Still, I am wondering what his/her native diet might be … There are no plants on our patio, and I would like to feed this elegant insect whatever food to which s/he is accustomed. Also, s/he spends the night inside of a little, open-ended box I provided — crawling inside of it on her/his own shortly after sunset, albeit *very* slowly, as though affected by the cooler evening temperatures… So, also, if you have information regarding this creature’s temperature requirements for optimal metabolism, I would appreciate it. This may sound odd, but we’re becoming fond of our little friend and would like to keep it happy and healthy for as long as it chooses to stay with us.
Thanks & Happy Thanksgiving,
San Diego, CA (beach area)
Yours is the second rescue letter we are posting today. This is a Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid, Scudderia mexicana. Your specimen looks like a female. The diet you are supplying is fine. Katydids eat foliage from many trees and shrubs. In our Mt. Washington garden, they are plentiful now and have a fondness for chewing rose petals and buds, which doesn’t make us happy. We don’t kill them as we love Katydids, but we shoo them off of our rose bushes with a hose. Usually they fly into the pine trees and return to the roses the next day. Temperature wise, they will survive the cooler winter temperatures, but they have a life expectancy of less than a year. Good luck with your new pet.
Thanks, Daniel, for your email and the information you provided. Our little lady fled the coup (patio) this afternoon… I now know she’s a she because I researched Scudderia Mexicana this morning after seeing an online photo named as such which resembled her, and then discovering that she has an ovipositer. Still, you are the only resource I’ve found insofar as her diet is concerned, let alone her lifespan… Now I’ll know what I need to know should another Scudderia happen along. I was thrilled to find your site. My husband and I moved back to California last month after spending almost a year in southwest Florida, where exotic little animals of every sort are abundant — and where we both rather unexpectedly became interested in interesting-looking bugs. I took lots of photos there of you-name-it moths, beetles, and wasps (“you-name-it” because I still have *no* specific idea of what some of these creatures were), but dropped the hobby after returning to California. I thought I’d never have a noteworthy encounter with a bug out here (over-familiarity making for a lack of appreciation), until this katydid showed up. I now hope to discover that which I previously ignored as a California native. Anyway, my husband and I very much appreciate what you’re doing with whatsthatbug.com. Thanks for sharing everyone’s photos, your gifts and your wisdom. You have two new fans.