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A Very Useful Katydid

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's a Sunday afternoon, and some kinda game is going on the TV, and I'm pottering around the kitchen, and we're planning to wash some windows later on, and looking at the job to come I see something on the window. A huge splop of bird poop. And someone's taking care of it for us.

It's a fork-tailed bush katydid, Scudderia furcata, one of the jillion orthopterans that inhabit our ridgetop sanctuary in autumn. At least I think that's what it is. My track record on critter ID in videos is spotty, to be kind. What I know for sure is that it has a real taste for poo. What insects get from bird poop is hard to say. Phosphates and salts at the very least. I've always read that butterflies imbibe moisture from poop because they need those chemicals to make the pheromones with which they attract the opposite sex. Katydids as far as I know use songs and calls as ladylures, so I'm not sure what's going on here. Maybe they just like the taste.

 Mine is not to judge one who eats poo. Nor is it to judge those who would spend three perfectly good minutes watching someone else eat poo. Mine is just to watch, to giggle and sing and share it with you.

 For photos and even a nice recording of the FTBK's rather weak electric-pulse song, please visit my friend Wil Hershberger and Lang Elliott's beautiful site,

These folks are putting up fabulous video and sound from their considerable travels across the country. We've been honored to put them up on Indigo Hill, which never fails to supply interesting material for their coffers. Sorry you missed this epic bout of poop consumption by a fork-tailed bush katydid, guys. Next time!


the song at the end is a nice touch!

Utterly delightful and fascinating - I would love to see this, so thanks for the video. Miss Weezy in Texas

Posted by Anonymous November 22, 2013 at 9:48 AM

A Rain Crow hit in the making? "I Don't Wanna Be without Poo"?

Hmmm ... I don't have a clue why it's calling.

This is fantastic! I throughly enjoyed it three times! I'm sending it to my granddaughter.

I could swear I saw him smacking his lips! I have parrots, so if a few katydids happened to ring my doorbell, I would most certainly invite them in for a spot of poo. It's a win/win situation....

Posted by Anonymous November 22, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Julie, you are a hoot! I love the way the abdomen ripples when the katydid is eating.

Kathy in Delray Beadh

You have one healthy ecosystem down yonder! What a treat to watch and learn. Love your song at the end. Glad I can hear your voice again on my Rain Crow CD.

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