by Carl Strang
Most bioblitzes occur in the spring, ahead of the main singing insects season. When one was announced for mid-September in Indianapolis, I was quick to sign on. Bioblitzes are good opportunities to go beyond one’s familiar region and gain wider experience, but this one brought enough strange observations that it was somewhat disorienting. The dominant singers everywhere were Japanese burrowing crickets.
That Asian species has been spreading from Mobile, Alabama, where it was introduced to North America in the 1950’s. I expect it eventually to become common in the Chicago region.
Walking a streamside trail at dusk on the first evening, I heard a meadow katydid that did not quite match other species of my acquaintance.
The song also was distinct, with very brief buzzes rather than ticks between the major buzzes, and significant pauses between. All of this points to the agile meadow katydid (suggested as a possibility by Wil Hershberger), a southern species not previously documented any closer than Tennessee or Virginia, according to the map in the Singing Insects of North America website.
If that weren’t enough, there were the strange finds in a little wetland area surrounded by a mowed Frisbee golf course at one of the parks.
There I found a female green-striped grasshopper.
They are known to have two annual generations in the South, and apparently such is the case as far north as Indy.
The bigger surprise was that these little habitat islands held a dense population of dusky-faced meadow katydids.
Also, the song was exactly the same as in the Chicago region. Perhaps this species is more abundant downstate, where invasive wetland plants reportedly are not as thoroughly established as they are farther north.
All in all, it was a horizon-expanding weekend.