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Tony Russell

This katydid, Caedicia simplex, occurs in both Australia and New Zealand. It inhabits gardens, parks and similar areas and feeds on foli­age of both native and introduced plants. Eggs are laid in late summer or autumn and in spring hatch into a nymph that resembles a mini­ature adult. As the nymph feeds, it grows and goes through five or six instars, each separated by a moult. Wing buds enlarge with each instar. The insect illustrated is undergoing moulting or ecdysis from a penulti­mate nymph to the adult form. It is at this stage that the wings fully mature. During the moulting process, the insect hangs down from the old skin until it finally extricates itself. Fluid is pumped into the wing veins, the wings expand and are then folded in the normal resting position along the abdomen to harden with the rest of the new exoskeleton. This specimen is a female. The red colour on the limbs becomes less obvious in adult females as the exoskeleton hardens and darkens to a leaf green. Males retain more of the red colour. This species makes a distinctive soft call, especially in the early evening and at night, the males being more vocal than the females. Adults probably live for two or three months.

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