neoconocephalus

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!

lithobiidae

I asked Trisha if we could examine a centipede some time, and even though they are not insects, she kindly collected one in her yard and put it under the microscope for us to sketch.

There are about 1000 species and subspecies in the family Lithobiidae, mainly distributed in the northern hemisphere. (The house centipede I posted last week is in a different family.)

Fun fact: centipedes have one pair of legs per body segment. Millipedes have two.

pseudomethoca simillima

Justin Orvel Schmidt is an American entomologist, author of The Sting of the Wild, and creator of the Schmidt sting pain index. According to him, the sting of a velvet ant is a 3 out of 4, equivalent to having boiling oil poured all over your hand.

Just another fun fact shared by the irrepressible Trisha Nicols on Insectopia.

belostomatidae

Americans have a tendency to call all insects “bugs”. I first thought the terms were interchangeable, but I’ve learned that while all bugs are insects, not all insects are bugs.

The key difference between true bugs and other insects is their mouth parts. True bugs have rigid piercing/sucking mouthparts that look like a long beak and act like a straw. Most suck plant juices, but some feed on animals. Water bugs are venomous; they liquify then drink their prey. Yum!

Thanks to Trisha Nichols for another fun and informative lesson.