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Creosote Bush Katydid

Insara covilleae

 

Insara covilleae photo © by Mike Plagens

The Creosote Bush Katydid, Insara covilleae, was observed at Painted Rock Mountain, Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA on 02 Nov. 2008. It is an adult female.

Tetigoniidae -- Katydid Family

The Creosote Bush Katydid is no doubt a recent evolutionary branch of the Elegant Bush Katydid (Insara elegans) line. This adaptive radiation was prompted by the arival of Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata) in the Desert Southwest some 11,000 YBP apparently from South America. As it spread exponentially, it became an abundant food resource from the Mojave Desert in California through the Sonoran and into the Chihuahuan Desert of Texas and northern Mexico. Creosote Bush, however, offers unique challenges to herbivores, for example the high content of coating resin and other antifeeding phytochemicals. The leaves are tough and leathery while often having a very low moisture content. Also it presents a unique pattern of colors and textures. Many insects that have become adapted to feed on creosote bush have evolved color patterns to match. Even naturalists may give up searching bushes for this common insect before finding it. Like many katydids, this one often comes to lights where they are easily seen.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008