You can find lots of cool things if you look in the right places! The place this time was the branch of a young black locust tree in one of our riparian buffers. This twig looks like it’s turning into a scaly lizard! But this isn’t a reptile, it’s an insect. And though it would make sense to guess the scaly insect is a scale insect, it’s not that either. These are the eggs of a katydid.

Katydids (family Tettigoniidae) are members of order Orthoptera, which also includes grasshoppers, crickets, and locusts (locust in this case is not a tree in genus Robinia or Gleditsia, but an insect in family Acrididae, and certainly not any of the insects in superfamily Cicadoidea, which aren’t locusts at all! But I digress.). Katydids are more likely to be heard than seen as in their adult life stage its wings bear a remarkable similarity to a leaf. The insect gets its name from its song of “Katy-did, Katy-didn’t” (link courtesy of The Orthopterists’ Society) that joins the chorus of other orthopterans (and even some Cicadoidea) on summer evenings. The intensity of the katydid chorus will depend on the density of the katydid population which depends on the availability of their preferred habitat; the canopy of deciduous trees. We’re glad to see some katy-did think so highly of our trees to make them the home for her offspring!

If you see something blooming, leafing out, ripening, or otherwise changing in your woods, send us photos ( to include in next month’s Forests for the Bay newsletter for more phenological fun!