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What is this insect?

I found this insect in our bathroom yesterday it was less than a quarter of an inch. Can you tell me what it is. Thank you

Terry Holgate, Goleta - April 22, 2020

Curator Response

Hi Terry,

Not long ago, another local shared a similar picture of the same insect in their backyard. It's neat to see what people are noticing.

This is certainly a nymph (immature individual) of a katydid, family Tettigoniidae. Katydids are similar in build to grasshoppers, but—like their closer relatives the crickets—have long, hairlike antennae rather than the short, stumpy antennae that grasshoppers have (all of the preceding belong to an insect order called Orthoptera). I can tell this is a nymph because it totally lacks wings. Nymphs are also, as you would expect, smaller than adults, and lack any kind of genitalia or developed ovipositor at the hind end. Additionally, katydid adults are typically not patterned, but are solid-colored, usually green or brown, but sometimes pink!

After some digging, I discovered that nymphs of the genus Scudderia (the so-called "bush katydids") are unique in possessing these special black-and-white-banded antennae.

There are two species of Scudderia reported from California, Scudderia furcata and Scudderia mexicana, and these have very similar-looking nymphs, but only the latter species has been reported from south of the Monterey County area.

Stay curious,

Schlinger Chair and Curator of Entomology Matthew L. Gimmel, Ph.D.