Wednesday, July 28, 2010

COUNTERFEIT KATYDID

Katydid backlit by the morning sun. Note the shadowy body beneath the huge folded wings—much smaller than you might guess.
This fine looking green fellow was perched atop one of the tiki torches near the deck yesterday morning. Though it was only a few feet from where I sat sipping coffee, I first mistook it for a leaf fallen from the big box elder. That it wasn't the right size or shape, or even the right color green for a box elder leaf, did not penetrate my caffeine-starved brain for several embarrassingly long moments. But eventually, either logical awareness or chemical rejuvenation kicked in and the "leaf" resolved itself into a living creature.
Katydid! I muttered to myself, as smugly pleased as if the realization process had been instantaneous.
Frontlit, as viewed from the other side, you can now barely discern the small body hidden beneath the translucent green wings.
Actually, I'm not sure whether "katydid" is precisely correct or not, when it comes to what to call this insect. Katydids, crickets, shieldbacks, and anglewings are sort of one big vaguely obscure group to me. The general prototypes are easy enough—though I couldn't key even those down without a good reference guide. But when you get to some of the bugs on the fringes of the various genera, there seems to be overlap in what I'm looking at (Is it one of these, or one of those?) and at that point I'm totally lost.
I think this is one of the Round-Headed Katydids—possibly an Oblong-Winged Katydid, though it could alternately be a Clicker Round-Winged Katydid, a Rattler Round-Winged Katydid, a Common Virtuosos Katydid, or some other species member of the Round-Headed classification. I would have had a better shot at a firm I.D. if the katydid had favored me with a bit of song. Maybe—though I'm no better at differentiating the screechy sawing of katydid tunes than I am at distinguishing the insect on sight. Still, it would have been an important piece to solving the puzzle.
Now here's the kicker…providing my labeling of this insect as being a member of the Round-Headed Katydid clan is correct, that means, in the mystifying argot of the bug world, it's not a "true katydid" but a "false katydid," though still a katydid. And no, I can't make sense or explain this doublespeak either.
I could, however, take the katydid's (true, false, or undecided) portrait, thanks to my camera's auto-focus function—though I can't tell for sure if these images are crisp or not.
[For those of you wondering…yes, I'm still having vision problems with the progressive-focus contacts lenses. I was at the optometrist's much of the morning today, and have to go back for some additional measurements and tests tomorrow morning. New lenses will then be ordered from California, and I should have them by the first of the week for a new trial. In the meantime, I'm still struggling with the same reading, focusing, perspective and general vision issues that I whined about in my previous post. The saga continues…]
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18 comments:

Kelly said...

...whatever he is, he's gorgeous...and really green!

I am struggling with the same issues you are with contacts. I can no longer see up close. I tried the contacts that are supposed to work both ways, but I was leaving on a bird trip and I needed super crisp sight for the distance, so I abandoned the multi-focus lenses and haven't gone back. I'll stay tuned to your posts to find out if I should go back for a refitting. Now I just have 30 pairs or so of cheapy readers scattered around the house/purse/car for close-up stuff. For super close painting, I take out my lenses and put on my glasses from ages ago...or get about five inches away from the paper with nothing...it's such a pain! (yikes, have I ever rambled!)

George said...

From the initial look at these splendid images of the counterfeit katydid, I just assumed that your vision problems had been fully corrected. I then discovered, however, that this is still a work in progress. You should at least be encouraged because the quality of your photos and prose reflects both a sharp eye and a mind that has not been unduly distracted from the joys of the natural world. Here's hoping that the remaining details being worked out by your optometrist will be resolved soon.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Kelly…

Hey, ramble all you want. I feel your pain, know it first-hand and can sympathize completely. I probably have almost that many readers scattered around, too—though using them never bothered me like it does some.

The more I've researched and read re. bifocal, progressive, multifocal, and monovision fittings of contact lenses, the more I realize how difficult it is to do it all well with any of these systems. There are just so many variables; and the lens users and their needs are all different. When it comes right down to it, many of the most renown and experienced doctors around the world—connected with the FAA, Olympics Committee, NASA, and similar high-ranking organizations, still say that if you want to wear contacts, and want to see as sharp as possible at distance, close-up, and moderate ranges, the only way to achieve this is via glasses over contacts—unless you're one of the lucky few, and are willing to work at getting a great combo, and have an optometrist willing to fit and refit until it's right. And the best way is probably to have single-distance contacts and progressive readers to wear over which you put on when needed just like cheapie reader—which can often then give you vision acuity at all ranges from a few inches in front of your eyes to infinity. You can sort of achieve the same thing by buying cheapie readers in several powers, 1.25, 1.50, 1.75, etc. which gives you good close focus at varying distances. (The farther away, the lower the number needed.)

I'll let you know how my odyssey turns out.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

George…

I'll take your word on the sharpness. And be glad to do so. I honestly can't see to tell. Looking at the dozen or so frames I shot, I couldn't decide whether one was better than the other except where it was really, really awful. An okay shot and a crisp shot looked all the same—or at least I couldn't decide if some were just okay and others crisp. I just picked two, cropped to square 'em up a bit, and posted.

Trust me, my friend, I'm mightily distracted all the time. My vision today is no better than it was last week—and likely to remain that way for at least another week or two if these progressives can even be made to work on me. But I'm encouraged and uplifted by your kind words. Thank you.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Wish we had katydids here, it is such a lovely name - and he/she is such a lovely green.
Sorry about the contacts - might I enquire what is wrong with wearing specs?

Tramp said...

I first needed glasses for distance work while still quite young. I hadn't realised how bad my sight had been getting and didn't associate the headaches with eye problems. The first thing I noticed when I came out of the Optician's shop was that I could see individual leaves on a tree in the street. They were so clear and crisp. I stood in the street and looked at that tree for ages. I still remember that wonderful feeling today, particularly when my eyes are tired and misty.
...Tramp

Wanda..... said...

The Katydid is sharp and clear, as I sit here with my 1.25 readers on, of which every room in my house is furnished with! Never knew there was a variety of Katydids.

Granddaughter Katie is known as Katydid, after years of her brothers and cousins saying "Katie did it!"

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

Actually, I thought you did have katydids over there—which you may know as bush crickets. Don't know if your various species are green, though.

It isn't contact lenses in general that are giving me problems. I can have 20/20 distance vision in contacts easily. To achieve 20/20 close-up vision, I need readers worn over the contacts—which is what I've done for years: when I want to read fine print on a page, tie a size 22 trout fly onto a 7X tippet, or pick a splinter from a finger, I'd just don a pair of readers. The trick they're trying to accomplish—unsuccessfully so far—is to be able to do both via the same contacts. Bifocal contacts are not new though the progressives aversions haven't been around too long. But they're all tricky to fit, and according to my optometrist and what I've read, can only be managed in a perhaps 40-50 percent of the patients.

I don't like glasses, though not from a vanity standpoint—but because there's the business of fogging as you come into a warm room from a cold outside; rain and sleet on lenses; having them knocked off when slogging through heavy brush or getting banged around during various rough or strenuous activities; and needing clip-on sunglasses which add weight.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Tramp…

I've experienced the same thing—perhaps to a lesser degree—several times after picking up a new pair of glasses (in my younger days) or contacts…especially back when my eyes seemed to change quite a bit from year to year and a new prescription made a real difference. I'd step outside and just be amazed—and wowed, too!—by all the little details, leaves, stars, etc. I could now see which I'd been missing or seeing only indistinctly for who knew how long.

My father had remarkable vision almost until the day he died. In his later life he needed very mild reading glasses. But for distance—and I promise I'm not exaggerating—he could see a bird or squirrel in a tree at well over 1000 yards away.

A few years ago I read a long piece about a handful of people around the world gifted with extraordinary vision—some at close-up acuity, others at tremendous distances. One lady in, I believe, Germany, for example, could distinguish individuals—recognize each face—coming out of a church across the valley from her home, a sightline distance of 5 miles! Several folks have the distance acuity as though they were looking through 10-20 power binoculars. I don't know how my father compared to these super-sighted folks, but he was way, way above the norm—and had been know for his amazing eyesight since boyhood. One of of my uncles, jokingly, used to say my Dad could watch a gnat fly over a hill a mile away.

What I wouldn't have given for similar eyes!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

You'd be amazed how many different katydids we have just around here. There are about 255 species alone in the U.S. and 6,400 species worldwide. And then there are all their cousins, the grasshoppers, crickets, and cicadas. (We have several different species of annual cicadas—the ones calling right now—in Ohio, besides the periodicals.) And at least half of 'em look alike, at least to me.

My grandmother Williams was named Katy, which I've always thought a lovely name.

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ
Your pictures of the katydids, false or otherwise are beautiful - the green, is so , well, green!!

Glad you are getting through the testing process to clear vision again.
I am still meeting this MS setback healing challenge, one step at a time.

Love you
Gail
peace and hope......

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

I'm relieved to hear you're still on the mend and I assume everything is holding its own re. your mother. Just hang in there and let time have its due. You'll get past this.

I just got back from several more hours (was there yesterday, too) at the optometrist's having all sorts of tests and measurements taken—my nerves are shot, I'm hungry (nerves), plus it's hot and humid here in Buckeyeland. I'm going to grab a breakfast bar and a bottle or two of water and head for the prairie up the road as I need some play time to chill and commune with birds and bugs and bluestem.

Glad you liked my green katydid. I did, obviously, being Irish. :-))

My problems are minor, really, and will get worked out sooner or later. You mind your doctors, body, and this concerned riverbank friend—rest, heal, and take care of yourself.

Carolyn H said...

Don't foreget the other noisemakers, the cicadas, to add to your list.

Carolyn H.

Jenn Jilks said...

Great shots, and amusing post.

I gave up contacts with menopause, when my eyes were too dry to tolerate them. So sad.
Difficult taking photos with eye glasses & graduated lenses, too. It is just a challenge to overcome!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Carolyn…

Ahhhh, cicadas—annual and periodic. Who with even moderate hearing could forget them? They are singing loudly from my trees at this very moment.

I haven't, alas, been able to come up with a satisfactory cicada photo this summer. According to my personal rules of blogging, it's cheating (only for me!) to flitch a shot taken last year. But fear not, the ol' jar flies haven't been forgotten; their appearance only awaits current portraiture support.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jenn…

All I can say is thank God menopause doesn't loom on my horizon! I have enough to deal with without weeping every time I lose a bass or deciding to assault the bag boy at the grocery because he used plastic instead of paper. (No wait…I do those things already. You don't suppose? Naahhh…)

Anyway, I'm hoping round two of the GREAT FITTING ODESSY, due for next week, will at least be in the right direction toward better vision. Lack of moisture in my eyes isn't an issue. In truth, I never know whether I have my contacts inserted except by vision—if I can see, they're in; if not, they must still be in their case. Contacts have always been comfortable for me.

Scott said...

Grizz, I wear progressive glasses (not contacts), but I can sympathize with you. The last time I changed my glasses prescription, I put on the new glasses and freaked out. I really couldn't stand the image I was getting. It was so bad it was making me nauseous. So, after giving them the good ol' college try for five days, I finally said to hell with them and I put on the old glasses. Finally, I went back to the optometrist to complain, and (very sympathetically) he explained that the glasses just needed to be adjusted on my face. Voila--perfect vision! It won't be so easy with your contacts, but I do sympathize.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Scott…

Thank you—and no, it won't be easy, or perhaps not even possible as only 40-50 percent of the people they work with can actually be fitted. But they're doing a second pair, all new measurements as to angles, diameters, placement of progression, etc., and even a different overall prescription, which should be in next week, and they remain optimistic. I'll give it the full shot, do what is asked—and after that, I guess we'll see. (No pun intended.)