Monday, 5 December 2011

So you hate bugs.... Part 1

Grasshoppers - order Orthoptera
Following on the last post's theme of animals I feel obligated to mention the most common animals visitors of the Amazon will see, insects.  I realize that not everyone will be excited to see these residents of the rainforest but they are inescapable.  Of the 1 million species identified world wide, approximately 13 percent of them have been found in the Amazon.  Although 130 000 have been described, scientists estimate there may be over a million species left to find.  So it's not unfair to say that there are a lot of bugs.  This incredible diversity means two things, first that you will see a lot of them and second that you will see an amazing variety of these widespread animals.
 Surprisingly one of the most common and varied orders is the grasshoppers/katydids. From the tree tops to underground you can find members of this group and they come in a number of shapes and colours.  There are those that imitate leaves down to the last detail,
Leaf Katydids - tribe Pterochrozini
Bolivars Katydid - Typophyllum bolivari

those that imitate walking sticks.

Jumping Stick - family Proscopiidae
 Those that are brightly coloured, 

Short-Horned Grasshoppers - families Arcididae & Romaleidae

and a number that are just strange.

Conehead katydid -  subfamily Copiphorinae

Mole Cricket - family Gryllotalpidae

Airplane grasshopper - 
Pseudomastax personata

 Besides those already mentioned you can find the largest katydid in the world (Spiny Lobster - Panoploscelis specularis), grasshoppers that imitate wasps and even those that are carnivorous.  Regardless of your personal feelings toward invertebrates in general, its hard not to have your curiosity piqued by at least one insect.  If grasshoppers aren't your cup of tea there are many other groups that may intrigue you.  For those of you with a phobia of insects don't let your fear stop you from visiting the beautiful amazon, like most animals if you leave them alone they will return the favour. 

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