08 November 2009

Leather-colored Bird Grasshopper

The general rule of thumb in the bird/bug world is that the more names it has, the cooler it is. Names are made from words that are generally colors, sizes, abundances, generalizations or any combination of all of the above. On occasion a reference to vocalization is made as well.

Example #1: Common Grackle. How abundant? Common. What kind of bird? Grackle (probably also a bit of a vocalization reference there).

Example #2: House Sparrow. Two words that describe a drab, abundant, small, brown sparrow.

Example #3: Blue-throated Goldentail. Heck, you don't even need to know it's a hummingbird because your brain is already swirling in a magical land of sparkles and whatever this hawk-chicken (pork-cow?) is, it's probably capable of excreting rainbows.

Brings to mind Great, Middle and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers.

This brings us to October's yard-bug, better late than never. Leather-colored Bird Grasshopper (Schistocerca alutacea) is the common name for a grasshopper that's huge and kind of brown. It even flies a bit like a bird (Matt found it before it launched itself across the yard, where I photographed it).

This creature definitely has a subtle grace and quite a presence - it veerrryyyy sllooowwwwlllllyyyyyy tried to make an escape, by walking up the fence. Due to my inability to weed out any single image from the next three shots, I offer thumbnails.

If you had to give this one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater grasshopper a name, what would it be? Would you name it for the yellow stripe down its back and bright antennae? Would you even call it a grasshopper, or a spike-legged catapulter? A brownish vaulting yellow-stripe? If you don't find those names too outrageous, well, we'll keep the blog family friendly and simply refer you to the Great Thick-knee. Nope, it's not a hippo.

1 comment:

  1. I like Leather-colored Grashoppers, even though many of them have no "leather" color. We have both the green and leather forms on Eglin. I was excited when I finally identified, but unfortunately didn't photograph, my first Obscure Grasshopper. I was looking for the purple hind tibia. Great yard insect!