Archive | August 27, 2012

Red-headed Bush Cricket, part 2

Male Handsome Trig (Phyllopalpus pulchellus) [Canon 7D, Canon 100mm macro, 3 speedlights 580EXII]

Exactly one month ago I saw my first Red-headed Bush Cricket, also known as the Handsome Trig. It was a tiny nymph, but it already carried its signature large mandibular palps, waving them like crazy. Yesterday, while in Estabrook Woods, MA, I heard a cricket call that I did not recognize. After my wife and I did  a bit of sleuthing in dense vegetation at the edge of a meadow, Kristin spotted the animal, and it was an adult male of the Handsome Trig. Its call is different from that of other small, diurnal crickets, which usually produced very even, continuous trills. In this species, however, individual pulses are in irregular groups, giving an impression that the cricket is stuttering a little.
This male’s black, paddle-like palps were even bigger than that of the nymph, and he moved them in a way very much reminiscent of a jumping spider waving his pedipalps. I strongly suspect that spider mimicry is their main function. The coloration of adult trigs is more vivid than that of juveniles, and this individual was particularly pretty.

Ventral and frontal views of a male Handsome Trig [Canon 7D, Canon MP-E 65mm, 3 speedlights 580EXII; the frontal view is a composite of 10 stacked images shot at f11]