Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Return to Oz!

Anyone familiar with this blog will note a lengthy hiatus between the last offering and now. We were in the USA for almost 2 months visiting relatives and friends and attending the Ig-Nobel ceremonies. DR and Darryl Gwynne were awarded this year's prize in Biology for an observation made in Western Australia in the early 1980's. But more on this later.

Recent rains of around 300 mm have brought out the spring insects in quantity. It was nice to be greeted on the first night by Ozphyllum kuranda Rentz, Su and Ueshima.

O. kuranda is an occupant of understorey vegetation. Like many rainforest species, it can be common at times and then seemingly disappear for several years. There are two known species in the genus, this one from coastal forests from Mackay to Kuranda and another, O. naskreckii from similar habitats in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland to just north of Brisbane. Both species are plant feeders and males produce a very loud zip-like call that even this old bloke can hear.
Ozphyllum katydids are very soft-bodied and rather sluggish in their behaviour, relying more on camouflage to avoid detection. The short, round wings suggest that they cannot fly much, if at all. Gliding or short flights are probably about the best these katydids can manage. The disk-like eggs are probably laid in cracks in bark but no observations have been made.

The closest known relative of Ozphyllum is probably Cosmophyllum, a genus known from Chile. This suggests that these katydids are remnants of a time long ago when the southern continents were conjoined.

Literature

Rentz, D. C. F., Su, Y. N., Ueshima, N. 2007. Studies in Australian Tettigoniidae: Ozphyllum, a new genus of Phaneropterine katydids with comments on its relationships and ecology (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae; Phaneropterinae). Zootaxa 1629 57-68. (pdf's available)

2 comments:

Camera Trap Codger said...

Great pic of a classy Katydid, Dave. Great seeing you here too. Your sis just sent me a few pictures before the Chimineas trip.

Mr. Smiley said...

Good one.
D