A Happy Find at Midewin

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.

One of several male dusky-faceds I found in an extensive marsh at Midewin.

One of several male dusky-faceds I found in an extensive marsh at Midewin.

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.

The marsh where I found them. Note the lack of invasive wetland plant species.

The marsh where I found them. Note the lack of invasive wetland plant species.

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.

This is a member of the band-winged grasshopper subfamily.

This is a member of the band-winged grasshopper subfamily.

They were displaying on this warm afternoon, their buzzing flights sounding just like those of green-striped grasshoppers, a spring species.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Lisa Rainsong said,

    September 27, 2015 at 1:01 am

    Hooray, and congratulations! Your photo is beautiful, too!


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