The Cambridge Entomological Club meets every month at Harvard University, and always has interesting speakers who regale its members with tales of adventure and insects. Last night our speaker was John Himmelman, a renowned naturalist and author of many children’s books and field guides, including two on singing insects of the Northeast. It was a very entertaining talk and, among other things, John showed us a number of species of katydids and crickets that we are likely to encounter in Massachusetts. I was particularly interested to hear about the Jumping Bush Cricket (Orocharis saltator), a species that I had never seen before, but always really wanted to. And then John casually said, “I heard one singing right outside this building as I walked from the garage.”
Are you kidding me??!!
It took all my willpower to stay in my seat until the end of the talk, and right after it had ended I ran outside to look for the elusive insect. Of course, I couldn’t locate it, despite hearing it calling from several places (John warned me that it would be difficult.) But I am a tenacious creature, and tonight I came back with a powerful headlamp and strong conviction not to leave until I get one. After about an hour of stalking and some awkward conversations with the Harvard security guards, I caught one.
This experience has been a great lesson in humility – I thought that I knew local orthopterans rather well but, here it was, a species I had been dying to see, singing in front of the building where I had spent the last decade of my life. I guess it really is never too late to learn.