Monday, July 29, 2013

Phenology: Cold Front and Katydids

That "cold front" is still hanging over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Heavenly. Bright blue sky, clear cool air, only about 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) and 70% humidity. What am I even doing at the computer center? Waiting for a car pool to do some errands. Checking e-mail. I don't even have a lot of e-mail...looks as if youall are enjoying the unexpected relief from "dog days" weather, too. I hope so.

Katydids are making their noise. Because so many scattered thundershowers have rained out their performances last week (they "sing," or rasp their legs to attract mates, just after sunset) different people report that they appeared on different days. Anyway, they're here now. According to folklore, the first frost occurs three months after the first katydid "sings." Of course, according to folklore, if it doesn't rain on July 15 it won't rain for the rest of the summer...it didn't rain on July 15 this year, and Kingsport is still suffering from flood damage.

For foreign readers, katydids are sometimes described as "bush crickets." They're in the same insect family that includes grasshoppers, crickets, and mantids. Here's a picture:


And here are some links for fun facts:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tettigoniidae

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/313386/katydid

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/walker/buzz/katydids.htm

What katydids "say" is "buzz buzz buzz," or "buzz buzz buzz buzz," which some people traditionally interpret as "Katy did" or "Katy didn't." I've heard individuals show off with more, sometimes as many as seven rasps, which I suppose those people would hear as "Katy never would have done!"