Mountain Katydids

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
12 April 2011
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Comments (10)

During the recent Bush Blitz biodiversity survey at Lake Condah, there was one insect that intrigued even the staunchest vertebrate biologists — the Mountain Katydid (Acripeza reticulata).

In this video, Patrick, Rowena and David from Live Exhibits talk about these unusual katydids and how they're establishing a colony of them at Melbourne Museum.

Watch this video with a transcript

Katydids are in the family Tettigoniidae, otherwise known as bush crickets or long-horned grasshoppers due to their very long antennae. The name 'katydid' comes from the noise that they make by rubbing their wings together which, in some species, sounds like katy-did, katy-did.

Bush Blitz is a three-year biodiversity discovery program supported by the Australian Government, BHP Billiton, Earthwatch Australia and Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Network (TERN) AusPlots.

Links:

Mountain Katydid on Caught and Coloured

MV Blog: Bush Blitz finds

Comments (9)

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Ian 21 February, 2013 20:02
Hi Kate, I was up at Falls Creek this week and saw male and female mountian katydids and I have only now found out what they were called. We are establishing a garden of wildflowers and plants from the Bogong High Plains at the primary school my kids go to. We may even have some interest in housing a colony at school once we have plenty of native food available. Would we be able to contact you guys for some tips on setting up a colony?
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IanM 29 March, 2014 19:50
Hi, I kept these katydid successfully in captivity in Queensland for eight generations. The largest population I ever had at one time was about 100 in 3 cages. That was back in 2009-10. These insects are very difficult to keep unless you are extremely dedicated and probably not the best idea for young children, as they are likely not to thrive if they get too stressed. They prefer seclusion and solitude and good ventilation. I would certainly not recommend such a rare insect for the classroom. You should also be advised that they cannot tolerate any kind of insecticidal sprays. Keep them 100 metres or more away from any kind of pesticides, including the ones we use on our own bodies. I have written down all of my observations in several articles and had one of these published. The main food plant by far is any of the native Senecio species. I'm not really sure why the Discovery Centre feels the need to give them "artificial winter". This is certainly not necessary. Eggs require a lengthy diapause and must be kept dry and warm to cool throughout this time. To hatch them, just think of Gremlins. Simply add water! A good drench with water always made them hatch for me (hanging in the rain works best)! Regards, Ian Menkins
Discovery Centre 23 February, 2013 13:03
Hi Ian, Mountain Katydids can be very difficult to breed – up until a few months ago, they’d only be bred in captivity once or twice in Australia. The difficulty seems to be in getting the eggs to hatch. We have a few at Melbourne Museum that are soon to moult into adults and this is one of the few times they’re reached that stage.

You don’t say where the primary school is. It will be much easier to rear them in the classroom if the school is within the natural range of Mountain Katydids, as the environmental conditions will be already suitable. In this case it would also be possible to release them onto plants in the garden, which is much less labour intensive than keeping them in the classroom. If you do still want to keep them in the classroom, contact us when you have them for more husbandry information.

Please keep in mind too that it’s illegal to collect them from within National Parks.

Discovery Centre 9 February, 2013 11:32
Hi Aidan! We'd be happy to see your pictures, and provide an identification if possible. Send them to us at discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au[.]
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Aidan Rosa 7 February, 2013 22:02
Hi there, I have found this or a similar species in the great lakes region of NSW whilst bush-walking. I have photographs if you would be interested in me sending a few? It definitely seemed like something special and so I didn't want to leave it un-noted.
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Kate C 18 April, 2011 10:28
Kate, I'm sure that Live Exhibits will be watching the eggs closely and can put up photos. Until then, you can see great pics of Mountian Katydid nymphs on the Brisbane Insects site.
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Nicole 13 April, 2011 09:26
Fun story, what cool creatures. I love that the name katydid comes from the sound they make!
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Kate Phillips 13 April, 2011 09:21
Loved the video - very interesting introduction to the Mountain Katydid. It was great to see them being collected in the field and to learn about the captive colony being set up. The segment with collecting the eggs and giving them 'artificail winter' was fascinating. Can you post something when they hatch?
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susan 12 April, 2011 18:25
Interesting video. What gorgeous little beasties. Well spotted. Hope the new colony is very productive.
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