What to do when visited by a katydid?
As I walked by the family room window, a spot of neon green stood in sharp contrast to the backdrop of gray, smoky sky we’ve been surround by these past several weeks. The vivid hue belonged to a good-sized insect and at first glance, I thought it was a praying mantis. I went outside to get a better look and was delighted to make an acquaintance with a katydid.
The creature moved unhurriedly across the window screen as I approached, but when I got too close it flew over to the nearby peach tree. I paced myself and moved toward the katydid more purposefully so as not to frighten it away. I leaned in closely and was glad I’d seen where it landed on the tree, because I don’t think I’d have been able to find it again otherwise.
This was my first encounter with a katydid, and I was enchanted by its long hind legs and large curved wings that so beautifully melded with its surroundings. The katydid’s coloring perfectly camouflaged it among the greenery, and its wing markings mimicked the ridges and veining of the tree leaves.
Then, the katydid lifted one of its delicate feet in order to groom it. I marveled at the methodical working movements of its mouth, which looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. My concern of being bitten was overridden by curiosity, and I reached out to see if the katydid had any interest in allowing me to hold it.
I cupped my hand beneath the leaf it was resting on and held my breath as it stepped, one dainty leg at a time, onto my palm. The katydid walked halfway up my forearm before pausing to start in again with its personal pedicure. I called my sons out to see it, admired it some more, then set the katydid back on the tree. It seemed content to be left alone to eat its way through a leaf, one measured row of bites at a time.
Katydids are also known as bush crickets. They belong to the insect order Orthoptera, and are related to crickets, grasshoppers, and mantids. Their long hind legs are designed for jumping, and they produce different clicking, trilling or buzzing noises that can sometimes sound like their name: “Ka-ty-did.” They tend to be more active at night, which might explain why I haven’t ever seen one in person before now.
This recent encounter was an extra-special treat, and I’m grateful for the gentle reminder to pay attention to the sweetness and magic that surrounds us in nature.
Winter coat giveaway
The FISH Ranchos Family Service Center hosts a winter coat giveaway next Thursday, Oct. 1 from 3-6 p.m.
Manager Diane Schachterle said coats, hats, scarves, socks, and gloves will be available, along with a number pet supplies and housewares. A barbecue hot dog dinner will be served.
Schachterle said the RFSC has been saving coats all year. She added that anyone interested in dropping off gently used winter gear before next Thursday is welcome and encouraged to do so. Items donated to the RFSC stay in the local community.
This year’s giveaway will be held outside in the parking lot area; attendees are asked to wear face coverings and observe social distancing guidelines.
RFSC is located at 921 Mitch Drive in the Gardnerville Ranchos. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and extended to 6 p.m. on Thursdays. Call 775-265-3474 for information.
Amy Roby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.