Recent Indiana Excursions

by Carl Strang

In recent weeks I have visited a few spots in Lake and Newton Counties, Indiana, for the first time. One site in Gary is a state nature preserve with several interdune swales.

Though there are some patches of invasive wetland plants, more than 95% of the area is in native vegetation.

Though there are some patches of invasive wetland plants, more than 95% of the area is in native vegetation.

I had high hopes for this site, which I thought might have stripe-faced meadow katydids and slender coneheads. On an evening excursion and an afternoon one I built a rather mundane species list. In this rainy year it is possible that the target species are present but widely scattered. I want to get in there again in a year when drier conditions might concentrate the species of interest, and also make a larger portion of the site easily navigable.

Willow Slough Wildlife Area in Newton County is a large and diverse area that I barely have begun to explore for singing insects. One target for this year was a roadside ditch lined with native sedges and grasses.

The ditch proved to have only common singing insects, but there was a remarkable concentration of clipped-wing grasshoppers, a non-singing species I have seen in only one other location. This is a nymph; most were adults at this late point in the season.

The ditch proved to have only common singing insects, but there was a remarkable concentration of clipped-wing grasshoppers, a non-singing species I have seen in only one other location. This is a nymph; most were adults at this late point in the season.

I also checked out some narrow drainage swales along an access road closely bordered by forest.

One non-singing species there was the graceful grasshopper.

One non-singing species there was the graceful grasshopper.

Short-winged meadow katydids were abundant, but the population was unusual in that nearly half the individuals were the long-winged variant.

Short-winged meadow katydids were abundant, but the population was unusual in that nearly half the individuals were the long-winged variant.

I wonder if the narrow, constrained habitat has something to do with the oddity of that population.

 

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