Hugh Johnson was out with his father “bush-walking” in Tasmania, Australia when the two of them came across an unusual looking bug. His father recognized it immediately and had been telling Hugh about the insect for years. Hugh’s dad calls it a “Wallaby poop bug”, but it’s called a mountain katydid.
The moment Hugh reaches down and touches the bug’s back! As soon as he touches it, the katydid raises its wing-covers and exposes a bright red, blue and black striped abdomen!
Hugh wrote, “My old man has been telling me about these guy’s for YEARS and we were both so excited to see one together whilst bush-walking in Tasmania.” After seeing its colorful surprise, no wonder they were excited to see it.
Mountain katydids will only flash their bright colors when they are prodded or picked up and think they are under attack. They also will give off foul-tasting chemicals if an animal attempts to eat it! Animals that use bright colors to warn predators is using a tactic called a “deimatic display” which is meant to distract or intimidate predators and avoid getting attacked. The bright colors also often warn predators not to eat them because they are poisonous or toxic.
Female Mountain Katydid. #alps #katydid
In the case of the mountain katydid, they will only show off their colors if they are disturbed. It’s a strange tactic as they are not giving predators an early warning that they should stay away. But the mountain katydid’s first defense strategy is to remain hidden and camouflaged.
If that doesn’t work, then it will then startle a predator with a flash color and a leave foul taste in their mouth, hopefully teaching the predator a lesson they won’t soon forget.
Share this unusual and colorful insect with your family and friends!