The promise of future katydids

Yesterday I was out working in the garden and noticed the eggs in the photo on one of our shrubs. ???????????????????????????????My first guess was Microcentrum rhombifolium (the big honking katydid), due to size, shape, and placement of the eggs on a stem. When I showed the eggs to Kelly, she felt they were from a Tettigoniid – a search on the internet showed we were both right. Kelly gets to be right because she is a great entomologist and that is just normal. My being right involved several hunches: species of large katydid that I have seen in Idaho, ovipositor shape of those species (ovipositor shape can be a good clue as to where eggs are laid), and who had I noticed in the backyard.

Our first thought was we should hatch them out indoors: 1) we get to see them hatch, 2) we get to see if any of the eggs have parasites, 3) it is the ultimate proof of correct identification, and 4) the are so gosh-darn cute as 1st instars. Our second thought was that we are moving across the country soon and may not want to include these creatures in the move. This species has a huge range and can eat a wide variety of plants, who knows maybe you will get to see baby pictures…

These eggs went through the winter, and ours was colder than normal this year. When we give presentations people always ask: how long do insects live? Many insects only live for 2 weeks (or less) as adults. Many insects spend more than one year in larval forms. In the case of these eggs, I know they lived through the entire winter. To me the coolest thing about finding insect eggs is the promise of future insects.

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