Giant Florida Katydid andy
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Giant Florida Katydid Moulting, (Stilpnochlora Couloniana)

These pictures of this Katydid moulting tell the story really, I had not seen any moulting to an adult before as it is mostly done at night for obvious reasons. The Katydid is completely defenceless against predators during this fragile process. It is important to leave some space for moulting so the newly emerged Katydid can expand its large wings. All my nymphs had changed to adults except two when I spotted one starting to change early in the morning. My wife was not happy as we were going out but I had to film it, two hours and 180 digital pictures later I had some nice pictures of the Katydid moulting from inside the tank. The Katydid has to wait while its exoskeleton body and legs harden enough so it can then turn upright and grip with its feet as the Katydid cannot expand its wings upside down so timing is critical. The resulting adult is huge compared to the smaller nymph it emerged from. Although the moulting process is similar to other insects I have filmed like locusts, praying mantis, dragonflies etc, it is still an amazing spectacle of nature.

Katydid Lifespan.

It always interests me how long all animals live for well the katydids changed their skins to adult during October and November 2012 I thought they would only live for a few months but to my surprise, they lived much longer. They were moved to a hot vivarium in my summerhouse in the end because my wife got fed up with the noisy singing of the males. In May they were still alive until I went on holiday and forgot to ask my son to check the food and spray water every day as when I returned most had sadly perished except three which lived until late July 2013. So as adults they lived for approximately nine months, which I think is a long time considering they were kept warm. I have been left with eggs, which I hope do not hatch. One of the three, a male escaped an old netted cage placed in the garden. On the 19th of July I could hear the male singing in my garden and so could my wife especially as we had our bedroom windows open because it is so hot, the Katydid still getting me into trouble. I did see it briefly gliding across my garden when I was hosing my plants. So with tatty wings and lacking its brilliant green the aging Katydid can still fly and sing.

Andy Newman Images©