African Tuesday: Being bark

When I first read “Out of Africa”, which to this day remains one of my favorite books, the one thing that left me oddly dissatisfied was the lack of attention to trees of the savanna¬†– their smell and colors, the texture of their bark and, most importantly, all the wonderful creatures that the author must…

Parktown Prawn

  Around this time of the year, the lucky inhbitants of Johannesburg in South Africa are often visited by this handsome beast, known as the Parktown Prawn (Libanasidus vittatus). Originally found only in indigenous forests of northeastern part of the country, in 1960’s these cricket and katydid relatives (Anostostomatidae) started appearing in gardens and houses…

Mass migration

Annual mass migrations of zebras, wildebeest, Thompson gazelles, and other assorted ungulates on sweeping, dry African plains are the source of some of the most evocative and celebrated images of our world at its finest. Cue in the blazing red orb of the setting sun as the endless string of magnificent, heroic silhouettes passes across…

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…

Never too late to learn

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…

Armored katydids, or Koringkriek

This week a French translation of my book “Relics” is being officially released in France. The one difference from the original version, other than the language of course, is the cover. I was thrilled to see that the publisher decided to place on it one of my all-time favorite animals, the South African armored katydid…