Entomology (Study of Bugs)/cricket

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Question
cricket
cricket  
I'm hoping you can tell me more about the type of cricket in this photo.  I tried searching the Internet but couldn't find photos with this distinct coloration.  I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California.  I found it in my garage at around noon.  Based on online descriptions of cricket vs. grasshopper, I concluded it was a cricket, but I don't really know.  Thanks in advance.

Answer
Hi, Matt:

Thank you for including the image with your question.  I can understand the confusion, this is something fairly unique.

The insect is a shield-backed katydid, family Tettioniidae, subfamily Tettigoniinae.  It may be in the genus Neduba , which includes several species, most of which are found only in isolated locations in California.  Here's more about them:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/40803

There are also some undescribed species I believe (species we know exist, but they have not received names or formal scientific descriptions yet).

Lastly, there are other genera of shield-backed katydids in California.  I don't know enough to be able to rule out one of those, either.  Your specimen may be an adult, or a nymph (juvenile, immature), in which case the youngsters are nearly impossible to identify because they lack adult characters necessary for ID (namely external genitalia).

Probably more information than you wanted to know, but there you go.

Hope you are enjoying the holiday weekend!

Sincerely,

Eric  

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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