Where else to find a tree cricket but on a tree?
You’ve recently seen pictures from the park behind the Arboretum on November 30 showing flameleaf sumacs (Rhus lanceolata) with their colorful fall foliage. When I’d gotten back near my car I stopped to look at another flameleaf sumac that wasn’t as attractive as the other two but that rewarded my attention with the presence of an insect on one of the tree’s clusters of drupes. My guess, based on the prominently jointed rear legs, was that it was some type of grasshopper, but after doing a little research I think it’s a female tree cricket, Oecanthus varicornis. In particular, this species seems to be known as a different-horned tree cricket (different from what?). I didn’t hear it make any noise, but if you want to listen to the stridulation of a male of this species, just follow the link that appeared a few sentences back.
Sound or no sound, how about those antennae that are longer than the rest of the insect’s body? (Why the two are unequal in length on this individual, I don’t know.) If you’d like a closer look at the “face” of the tree cricket and the way the antennae emerge from its head, you’re welcome to click the icon below for an enlargement.
© 2014 Steven Schwartzman