Helmeted katydids

Porgera, a gold mine in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, is not a pleasant place for a biologist, especially if you are aware of the massive environmental damage of its operations, or the frequent human right violations that this mining camp is known for. But we had no choice but to sleep with the…

New life

Today marks the first anniversary of The Smaller Majority blog which, to my delight and surprise, has been steadily gaining readership. I am grateful to all who visited these pages over the last 12 months, especially those who kindly left the wonderful, insightful, occasionally snarky comments under many of the 130+ individual stories – keep’em…

Mozambique Diary: Sylvan katydids of Gorongosa

A few nights ago, as I was walking towards my cabin along the edge of the Chitengo Camp, I heard a call of a cricket that I did not quite recognize. Cricket calls are unmistakable for their clean, almost melodious quality, very different from the call of a cicada or a katydid, which tend to…

Mozambique Diary: Back in Gorongosa

Yesterday I arrived in the spectacular Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. Last time when I was here the place was dry and dusty, but now, at the end of the rainy season the luxuriant vegetation is vibrantly green and after the misery of Boston’s winter the air feels throat-soothingly humid. During the day Gorongosa’s woodlands…

Coneheads

A fact that entomologists are well aware of, but one that usually comes as a surprise to everybody else, is that most insect species are still unknown to science, and only a relatively small portion of them have been formally named and described. According to recent estimates only about a quarter of currently living species…

Predatory katydids

Earlier this week I spent a couple of days in Philadelphia, visiting my Holy Shrine, the Orthoptera collection at the Academy of Natural Sciences. I was giving a talk at a meeting of the American Entomological Society (not to be confused with its much younger, up-and-coming offshoot, the Entomological Society of America.) It was also…