Wildlife & Wild Places

Rainforest Katydid Hide-and-Seek

Hello!

Many greetings from the rainforest in Western Kenya. As an entomologist in search of bugs, one quickly learns that many different kinds of insects are experts at hiding. They are masters of camouflage, and can make themselves ‘invisible’ even in broad daylight by blending in with their surroundings. Here is an example of a remarkable ‘con-artist’ that I came across while strolling through the Kakamega Forest in Western Kenya…

One of the reasons that insects need to hide because many of them would make a quick and tasty snack for the many different kinds of insect-eating birds in the rainforest.

Here is a scene from one of paths in the southern part of the forest. Can you spot the hidden insect?

 

Yes, there is an insect hidden in this picture!

 

OK – I agree that it’s hard to see, here is a closer look..

Now can you see the insect?

 

Hmmm – let’s try and look even closer (you’re looking for a leaf-like katydid)…

Hint: lower middle to the right...

 

And zooming in even closer allows for the true beauty of this leaf-like katydid to be fully revealed:

"I'm just another bit of leaf, nothing to see here... please move on"

 

Remaining hidden is not just about shape and color. This katydid is an expert at staying still, and by holding close and pressing against the surface of the leaf, it helps eliminate shadows and reduces its outline. This all combines to create a near-perfect illusion and a beautiful example of camouflage.

More from the wonderful world of bugs soon!

 

My name is Dino J. Martins, I am a Kenyan entomologist and I love insects. The Kiswahili word for insect is dudu and if you didn’t know already, insects rule the world! Thanks to the amazing efforts of the ‘little things that run the world’ I was humbled to be selected as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. This blog is a virtual dudu safari through the fascinating world of bugs. Enjoy, leave a comment and send any questions or comments to me through: insects.eanhs@gmail.com

  • Ima Ryma

    The katydid plays hide and seek
    With birds of the forest in game
    Of life and death to miss a beak
    With katydid as snack as aim.
    The katydid’s fav food is leaf,
    So looks for one, color and size,
    As fool birds camoflage, in brief,
    Hidden in plain sight from birds’ eyes
    Katydid presses in down lie,
    Very still, katydid does stay,
    Hoping any bird flies on by,
    And at the leaf nibbles away.

    So did it escape getting caught?
    Alas no, the katydid not.

  • Ima Ryma

    The katydid plays hide and seek
    With birds of the forest in game
    Of life and death to miss a beak
    With katydid as snack as aim.
    The katydid’s fav food is leaf,
    So looks for one, color and size,
    As fool birds camoflage, in brief,
    Hidden in plain sight from birds’ eyes
    Katydid presses in down lie,
    Very still, katydid does stay,
    Hoping any bird flies on by,
    And at the leaf nibbles away.

    So did it escape getting caught?
    Alas no, the katydid not.

  • Anonymous

    That poem was terrible and hard to read. Sorry.

  • Anonymous

    That poem was terrible and hard to read. Sorry.

  • majd

    so nice

  • majd

    so nice

  • Daniel Singhoff

    Aye, that’s one hard-to-spot insect ye got there!

  • Daniel Singhoff

    Aye, that’s one hard-to-spot insect ye got there!

  • Jennifer García

    That is a beautifull insect, i see him in the second picture, great camouflage!!!

  • Jennifer García

    That is a beautifull insect, i see him in the second picture, great camouflage!!!

  • The Bug Chicks

    Love this post. We’ve spent a good deal of time in Kenya, but never made it to Kakamega. Next time, definitely!

  • The Bug Chicks

    Love this post. We’ve spent a good deal of time in Kenya, but never made it to Kakamega. Next time, definitely!

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