When pulling weeds in my backyard here in Tucson, AZ my daughter and I came across this green long legged insect. It has six long legs, has very long antennae and was very docile. I assumed it was a type of locust or grasshopper but it almost looks like a large aphid with its fat body and bright green hue. It allowed my daughter to hold it for an extended period and even climbed up her arm when trying to put it back on the ground. What is this awesome insect?
Answer Dear Brandy - This is a female short-winged katydid in the genus Dichopetala; it appears to be the common short-winged katydid, Dichopetala brevihastata - see http://tinyurl.com/mpw7td8 and http://tinyurl.com/pacylpa for examples. Like many other insects, individuals within this species can vary considerably in their color pattern, but the shape and ornamentation (look at the tip) of its ovipositor (the sword-like structure at the end of the abdomen) appears characteristic. Unfortunately, very little appears to be known about the biology of this insect - authorities don't seem sure what its food habits might be; some report it as feeding on flowers while others mention the possibility of it feeding on other insects.
Hope this helps,
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Thank you for your prompt and descriptive answer. Now I can tell my daughter what she waz holding.
Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management.
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21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.
Organizations Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.
Publications American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.
Education/Credentials B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.