Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Waiting for Wings . . .

Katydids sounding in every tree after dark, but rarely seen, pique my curiosity tonight. A green leafy one comes again to the outside of the kitchen window, revealing its white underbelly, green feet bottoms, and red mandibles in the light from my side of the glass. I watch long, hoping to see its wings rub together in the act of making its namesake sound.

One can stare at a katydid at close range only so long without looking away. I missed the moment of noisemaking every time, but could at least imagine it by the way the wings were folded flat against each other behind the back.

What I did see were the underneath connecting points of the six legs on what I think was the thorax. Six tiny flat feet at the ends of those long bent legs clung to the glass as the awkward creature crawled across the pane. Occasionally one of the front feet moved to the mouth where it stayed for much chewing action by the bright red mandibles---too tiny to see precise detail. Whether eating or cleaning I couldn't tell, but presume the former, since it was always a front foot, and since the sections of the underbody nearest the head rolled downward in an undulating movement---swallowing? If it had been cleaning, it might have done something about the hind foot that came along dragging strands of silk. dkm

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