Creosote Bush Katydid

One of the most boldly patterned katydids here in Arizona is the Creosote Bush Katydid (Insara covilleae). These desert katydids have five, large, white blotches on their wings.

Creosote Bush Katydid (Insara covilleae)

Not surprisingly, Creosote Bush Katydids are generally found on Creosote Bushes (Larrea tridentata), these katydids' sole food plant. Creosote Bushes are abundant in the desert around Tucson and in many other desert areas throughout the western US. These bushes have thick, resinous, green leaves, yellow flowers, and fuzzy, white fruit. The bold coloration of the Creosote Bush Katydid serves as camouflage in the similarly colored Creosote Bush. This katydid's patterned markings also help hide it by breaking up its silhouette, obscuring its characteristic shape and making it difficult to see amid the creosote foliage.

They are so well camouflaged that I have never spotted a Creosote Bush Katydid on a Creosote Bush. I skimmed this one out of the pool one evening, and it seemed rather annoyed at having its picture taken and fled into the night soon after.

My insect field guides were not much help in identifying this katydid, but I discovered an excellent website with lots of photos, the Singing Insects of North America, that helped me determine the species.

Katydids are members of the Katydid Family (Tettigoniidae), and unlike grasshoppers with their short antennae, katydids have long antennae. Like crickets, katydids will "sing" in the evenings. Unfortunately, I don't know what the songs of these too well-camouflaged Creosote Bush Katydids sound like.