Sunday 28 October 2012

New species of Bush Cricket from the Eastern Carpathian Mountains.

Bush Crickets, or Katydids, are large Insects in the Order Tettigoniidae, related to Grasshoppers and True Crickets. The are distributed widely around the globe, but reach their maximum diversity in the tropics and in temperate North America. The males of each species attract their mates with a distinctive call, made by rubbing stridulatory files on the back of their wings together, something they have apparently been doing since at least the Jurassic.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 18 October 2012, Gergely Szövényi of the Department of Systematic Zoology & Ecology at Eötvös Loránd University, Gellért Puskás of the Department of Zoology at the Hungarian Natural History Museum and Kerill Márk Orci of the Ecology Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Eötvös Loránd University and the Hungarian Natural History Museum, describe a new species of Bush Cricket from the ancient Caliman Caldera of the Eastern Carpathian Mountains in northern Romania.

The location of the Caliman Caldera. Google Maps.

The interior of the Caliman Caldera at (left) 1400 m and (right) 1600 m. Szövényi et al. (2012).

The new species is placed in the previously described genus Isophya, and given the specific name nagyi, in honour of Barnabás Nagy of the Plant Protection Institute of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, a leading expert on the Orthoptera (Crickets and Grasshoppers etc.) in Hungary.

The species is essentially similar to other species in the genera, a green Bush Cricket averaging 24 mm in length, and was identified on the basis of the male song, which is distinctive and indicates reproductive isolation. This is not simply a cultural difference, as in the songs of Whales or Primates, the song of a male Bush Cricket is preset by the physical structure of its stridulatory file.

Two colour variations of Isophya nagyi. Szövényi et al. (2012).

The stridulatory files of (A) Isophya nagyi, (B) Isophya camptoxypha, (C) Isophya ciucasi, (D) Isophya posthumoidalis, (E) Isophya sicula. (H) detail of the center part of the stridulatory file of Isophya nagyiSzövényi et al. (2012).

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