by Carl Strang
On Tuesday I drove down to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Will County to continue surveying its singing insects. The trip produced one of the season highlights, the first dusky-faced meadow katydids I have found in Illinois.
This once was a common species, and there are old records for many counties in my survey area. As of Tuesday, in the 10th year of my study, I have one present-day county record for Illinois, and two for Indiana, out of the 22 counties I am searching.
Phragmites, reed canary grass, hybrid cattails and purple loosestrife are the major threat to wetland ecosystem integrity. So far no one has found a sure way to hold them back, and the first two in particular are spreading rapidly.
Elsewhere at Midewin, in a dry restored prairie, I found several clouded grasshoppers.
They were displaying on this warm afternoon, their buzzing flights sounding just like those of green-striped grasshoppers, a spring species.