Mirror, mirror on the wall

Well, actually on the mirrored sheet metal of the stove pipe around the buckeye tree — which turns out to be a difficult surface on which to photograph pale green insects.

tree cricket nymph

I think this is a Tree Cricket, most likely a late stage nymph since I don’t see any wings.  The reflection off the metal makes it look like the cricket has 12 legs instead of 6 and 4 antennae instead of 2.

Tree Crickets are related to grasshoppers and katydids, have long skinny bodies that usually match the vegetation in which they sit (it’s probably hard to match this sheet metal), and antennae almost twice as long as their bodies.  Usually they are nocturnally active and renown for the male’s musical chirping, which is amazingly temperature dependent — so well tuned to temperature in fact that you can use them like a thermometer (if you have already made the temperature calibration).

tree cricket nymph

This little (one inch) nymph doesn’t have much color except in the head region.  The legs and antennae look almost transparent, and its eyes are a striking white with one black fovea spot.

tree cricket nymph

Two sets of palps surround the mouth and assist in food manipulation. Apparently these crickets are omnivorous, feeding off plant, animal (insect), and fungal food sources.

What an odd-looking creature, but a most cooperative one for photography!

4 thoughts on “Mirror, mirror on the wall

    • Good point. I wonder how it manages to keep those long antennae from getting snagged. They are pretty mobile, though. I saw the cricket straighten and spread them widely.

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