Sorry Katy, You Ugly

I’ve been hitting you with an unhealthy dose of bird posts as of late … and for that I’m not sorry – ha. Just kidding, I know there are loyal readers out there that prefer the non-aviary topics (and I know that from all the hate mail I get when their tolerance is crested). The good news is I have tried to remedy that with a quick post on … wait for it… something that doesn’t have feathers.

Shield-Backed Katydid shot in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park back in July 2014

Something tells met some of you may have just taken a few steps back from the monitor just then. I cannot lie, I am having to force myself to stay at the keyboard just to get through this post. This bug basically looks straight out of a horror movie and it creeps me out staring just at the picture. It took incredible willpower to stand there in person looking at it through the camera eyepiece. Guessing you are wondering what this thing is and will not settle for the answer “It’s a bug!”. Scouring the Internet (a fancy and technically deceiving phrase for basically going straight to Google), I came up empty. By the way, just in case you get an inkling to do some Google oogling under the phrase “creepy looking bug” – DO NOT DO IT – you will not be able to go outside for a month! Luckily, my brother Ron had better luck and was able to successfully identify “the bug”. This ladies and gentlemen is referred to as a Shield-Backed Katydid. Coincidentally, that happens to be Latin for “creepy ass bug”.

Shield-Backed Katydid shot in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park back in July 2014

This specimen was found while chasing waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We were out there in July 2014 on our way to North Carolina. Unable to remember the name of the actual waterfall Linda wanted to shoot, but if recalling correctly it was not that far from their extremely impressive visitor center. Do not pass checking that out if you are in the area. While Linda dials in her silky waterfall shots, I’m generally exploring the area for birds (not a stretch there) and if that comes up empty, I transition to dragonflies, then bugs (then cool fungi if you are curious). There are zero birds in the Smokies and the dragons were nowhere to be found. Simply looked down at the railing (don’t tell Linda, but right behind where she was standing) this Katydid was hanging out likely annoyed we were disturbing its hunting grounds. Sorry for the limited shots… was it mentioned earlier this bug creeps me out!?!

A quick fact before I leave you. The Shield-Backed Katydid were given their moniker for the enlarged dorsal area of the prothorax (apparently also called a pronotum) which extends down to the abdomen. All I got for you tonight, hope you enjoyed the post.

2 thoughts on “Sorry Katy, You Ugly”

  1. Actually, the only reason I knew this was a Katydid was because last year I was leaving a forest preserve in the early evening after birding and ran into some birding people I knew who were just starting an evening “singing insect” walk. This sounded like the worst possible walk I could imagine, but I tagged along on one of the strangest walks I’ve been on–strike that, the strangest walk I’ve been on. The leader would dive into tall weeds and pull out all kinds of crazy crickets and things that he tracked by their “singing”, generally by rubbing wings. Anyway, I had enough bug spray on to survive, but he had found some Katydids that were big and bright green. So even though your bug was not green, it reminded me of some kind of Katydid, and Google did the rest.



    1. Ewwwwe, not sure I would join a singing insect walk – I’ve done a lot of blog posts based on creatures that show up on our porch out here in the deep woods. Those sessions are enough to give you the heebie jeebies for weeks. Amazing what kind of creepy world you are introduced to holding a macro glass in the middle of the night next a lone set of lights – basically a beacon for every insect taking up residence in our woods. Choosing to dive into a bunch of weeds and grabbing insects – a whole different level. With that said, it sure benefited me. I would have never found it without your knowledge. I need to start calling you the “bug man”.


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