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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Hitchikers Guide to Los Angeles

Have you ever jumped in your car and realized there was a bug on your windshield? Not a gross squished one, I mean a living one, ready for a hitchiking adventure. When this happens, you might be like me, and decide to spark up the engine and see how long that sucker can stick around for (never speeding of course)! In my extensive experience, the bugs usually manage to "hang on" for much longer than one would expect. Case in point: This bright green katydida close relative to grasshopperstraveled with Nature Lab project manager, Jennifer Morgan, all the way from Palos Verdes to Pasadena, reaching speeds of up to 70 mph!   

Katy "done" did it right!

For a better idea of what a katydid looks like, here's an image courtesy of What's That Bug:

But why are they called katydids? According to Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, "Katydids are so named because of their supposed participation in a legendary love affair. Involved were two maidens: one was fair, the other (whose name was Kate) was more on the stately side. The masculine corner of the triangle, an anonymous lad, fell in love with the fair one and scorned the passions of Kate. When he mysteriously died, the question was: "Did or didn't the proud Kate do him in?" The insect lives today as the deceased's spirit, continually proclaiming the answer each summer night "Kate-she-did," or the variation "Katy-did.""   

So next time you're standing on a freeway overpass, look at all those cars speeding by and wonder, how many invisible hitchikers are passing by under your very nose? Furthermore, what are the conseqences of such movements? What happens to all those insects that are now 70 miles from their home?

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