Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mystery Insect

Sorry I am late posting today. I've been furiously searching for information about an awesome bug that I saw this morning.

While walking the dog this morning, I saw what appeared to be a young blade of grass flung up by a lawnmower and now stuck to dew on a black lamp post. Perhaps because it was at eye level, the grass clearly hadn't been mowed recently, and it was a brighter green than I would expect a severed blade to be, the bright green sliver caught my attention.

Then it moved.

Had it been a few feet closer to the earth, it would have gone completely unnoticed. Pretty clever disguise for the manicured landscapes of the suburbs if you ask me.

Too far away from home (i.e. the camera) and too much of a nature lover to pick the little guy up and remove him from his habitat, I returned home and searched entomology databases for "walking grass," because it seemed so similar to a "walking stick" bug. The closest image I could find is above (thanks to NicksSpiders.com/insects). So far, all I have deduced that the bug is of the order Exopterygota or Plasmida or both but that doesn't mean a whole lot to me.

Perhaps it is just a young "walking stick" bug and, like a new branch on a tree, it begins life this bright color? But the little creature I saw, and the one pictured above, both seem to have only four legs, where walking sticks have six. Not to mention, the mystery lamp post bug was less than half of the size of the one pictured above and no thicker than a blade of grass.

Can anyone identify this mystery bug?

Just received information from my brother-in-law, who has studied entomology, and he seems to have solved the mystery. Check out his response to my query:

"You were correct in thinking of a "Walking Stick" - at least that's my guess. I immediately thought of the order Phasmatodea (Walking Sticks). The only thing that worried me was your description of only having two pair of legs. One of the major characteristics of an insect being a true insect is having 3 pair of legs (i.e. 6 total). Then I remembered these little things tend to extend their front legs forwards sometimes and can be tricky to see. They can sometimes be confused for antennae. Let me know what you think. Happy hunting!"

(thnx Kris)

No comments: