Photo by Colin Prickett, on the first day of the WA Naturalists Club outing to Bindoon north of Perth.
There are three known species of these very stick-insect-like katydids, all from coastal regions of SW Western Australia, but I don’t know which one this is. Phasmodes is the only genus in its subfamily. I gather they used to be in the Zaprochilinae, along with similarly phasmid-like genera like Kawanaphila and the Balsam Beast Anthophiloptera dryas, but I don’t know when they got promoted.
I did find references to a paper titled “The mating biology of Phasmodes ranatriformis (Orthoptera : Tettigoniidae : Phasmodinae) : a uniquely mute genus of bushcricket from West Australia” by Win Bailey, T. Lebel, so presumably they have that distinction as well.
Either the Great Tumblr Purge ate the posts, or I’ve somehow never covered these unusual Katydids before, despite have spotted my first one years ago, now. The first one is from the Alison Baird Reserve, and the second from a tiny patch of bushland that briefly survived having the entire surrounding area bulldozed and carted away from a new building development.
These pollen-feeding katydids were first described in 1993 by David C. Rentz, and the eleven known species are only found in the SW, southern parts of South Australian, and western Victoria.
Photo by Eleanor Sivertsen , at Empire Bay, NSW.
The largest of the Zaprochiline Pollen-feeding Katydids, and a pretty spectacular katydid in all other regards as well. First described in 1983, after one was spotted on Balsam flowers. This was in a Sydney garden, by Densey Clyne. I remember the video segment she did about them, quite vividly, but then she was an amazing naturalist.
Despite being found all along the east coast, including in urban areas, it hadn’t been described before because it spends most of its life high in Angophora trees, feeding at night, only moving to garden plants and fruit when Angophora blossom becomes scarce. The long narrow snout is ideal for reach deep into a flower. Adults in this and other Zaprochiline genera hold the wings at a 30-degree angle away from the body, and rest during the day with their bodies pressed close to the trunk or branch of the host plant.