Monday, September 16, 2013

A Singing Swordbearer - Another Night-Singing Insect

   I heard a song of a night-singing insect while I was sitting around a campfire with some friends.  The song was loud and long.  I briefly left the campfire to hunt down the source of the peculiar sound.  In the weeds beside the lane I found this very unusual-looking insect.... an Eastern Swordbearer, Neoconocephalus ensiger.
Unusual-looking insect - an Eastern Swordbearer, Neoconocephalus ensiger

The Eastern Swordbearer is a coneheaded katydid that looks like a grasshopper with a pointy head.
coneheaded katydid that looks like a grasshopper with a pointy head

  I made a point, in my previous post, to mention that I have a video of this unusual-looking insect signing.  So, here is the video of that singing katydid - a singing Eastern Swordbearer.   The video has only a little portion of the katydid's song, since it is a very long and monotonous song.
   Incidentally, we were sitting around the campfire beside on old, abandoned railroad grade when I heard this katydid sing.  Listen again to the katydid's call... doesn't it sound like a fast-moving train?  A fast-moving steam locomotive?
I took some photos of this katydid to, pointedly, emphasize its pointy head.
Katydid with pointy head - the Eastern Swordbearer, Neoconocephalus ensiger
This conehead could win an ugly bug contest, eh?  Do they give crowns for that?
coneheaded katydid with pointed head

I wonder what the purpose (the point) is for that fantastic cone.... that conical fastigium of vertex?
Protection... as in a horn?  Camouflage... to blend in with the grass?
Eastern Swordbearer, Neoconocephalus ensiger
Whatever the purpose, among the various species of coneheads there are different shapes of cones as well as a variety patterns on the cones.

   Did you ever think about what kind of bizarre,wild-eyed creatures may be lurking in the weeds along the roadside when your car lights strafe the weeds? 
How about when your campfire-light dances on the bushes and grasses... have you ever made it a point to ponder what kind of 'neighbors' might be gathered on the fringes?  Hey, I know it's tough to leave a campfire, but who knows what you'll find if you slip outside the firelight for a short time to appreciate the 'neighbors'... You may be glad you did... it's likely the friends won't miss you... and although it's likely they'll  never know what you saw, perhaps they will discover it, at some point.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Dana, you never disappoint me. Always something fascinating. I wonder why his eyes are so far up his head ? Wonder if it allows him to keep a look-out while eating ?

    BTW, it DOES sound like a train.