The citrus cicada is found in the south west US (CA-AZ-UT-NV). (Trisha’s specimen was collected in Mesquite, NV.) They are not one of the 13- or 17-year cicadas; these ones have a life span of 3-4 years from egg to adult death.
Sunburst diving beetles are aquatic, though they can fly. They are found in Southern California, southern Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico. They inhabit various slow-moving freshwater habitats, especially shallow, temporary or intermittent pools and creeks with little or no aquatic vegetation. When their water source dries up they will fly to a new one.
They prey upon and scavenge other aquatic insects, snails, young fish, tadpoles, and mosquito larvae and pupae. The distinctive yellow spots serve as a warning sign to predators that the insect can release a foul tasting chemical from specialized glands found behind the insect’s head.
Source of the ‘mating wars’ info above: Trisha Nichols and Science Daily. I liked Susan’s comment during the livestream: “Guys, if your lady passes out underneath you, you are doing it wrong!”
Wedge-shaped beetles live a part of their life cycle as a parasite on other insects, most commonly bees or wasps.
The beetle lays its eggs on a flower. The eggs hatch almost immediately into small larvae that lie in wait for a visiting bee. The larva crawls onto the bee and rides it back to the hive, where it dismounts and seeks a cell occupied by a bee larva. It then enters the body of the bee larva and waits until the bee larva pupates. It eats the entire pupa, then pupates in its turn and completes its metamorphosis before emerging from the hive to mate and lay eggs. Clever? Creepy? You decide.
Even though Trisha is an entomologist, not an arachnologist, sometimes she treats us to a spider under the microscope.
Long-jawed orb-weavers vary in appearance, but those most commonly found are long-legged, thin-bodied spiders. When at rest, they may cling lengthwise along a twig or blade of grass, holding on with the short third pair of legs while the long pairs of legs are extended. They typically live in meadows near water, and around the banks of waterways (rivers, lakes, swamps), usually on low-hanging branches and reeds. These spiders will bite if threatened, but the bite is not harmful to humans.
Tree crickets, though quite small, have a loud call that is sometimes mistaken for a cicada or tree frog. They cleverly amplify their trill by positioning themselves in a hole chewed in a leaf, with their tegmina aligned with the surface of the leaf. The leaf then acts as a speaker by significantly increasing the area from which the sound radiates. This is the same principle used by the speaker in your stereo.
I never really knew what a katydid was (as opposed to a grasshopper) until the other night. An easy-to-spot difference is the length of the antennae. Also, katydids are primarily nocturnal and grasshoppers are diurnal.
Insects in the family Tettigoniidae are commonly called katydids (especially in North America). More than 8,000 species are known. Many species exhibit mimicry and camouflage, commonly with shapes and colours similar to leaves.
The specimen we sketched is in the Neoconocephalus genus. Gotta love that cone head!