Friday, August 6, 2010

Carolina Leaf-Roller

 This odd-looking little bug is a Carolina Leaf-Roller (Camptonotus carolinensis). Their size is nothing to brag about at only approximately 3/4 of an inch in length, but the antennae on the other hand are quite impressive and are more that 5x the overall length of the body. The one photographed here had antennae that were approximately 3 to 4 inches in length.

They are listed as a South-Eastern United States species, and southern Missouri seems to fall into that range. I could not find any information as to whether they have ever been found as far north as Andrew County where I live, so this may be a record for our county. They are very unusual looking insects, they almost look like nymphs of some odd orthoptera that has yet to fully develop. Brownish-yellow in color and very smooth in appearance they won't set any records for beauty, but WOW those antennae are impressive. Why the length on those feelers? Does size really matter in the world of these odd little bugs? If so, this specimen would be a winner for sure.

These little guys are incredibly fast, but do not seem to be very skittish. I was able to watch her for quite sometime before she tired of my presence and crawled away. Her ovipositor is visible in the second picture and is carried in an upwards fashion over the back of her abdomen. I could not find much about their mating rituals or egg laying habits, but one could assume they will slit holes into plants and lay their eggs.

During the day they live in rolled up shelters made out of leaves...then at night they become active and feed on various grasses and plants. They are usually associated with timbered areas, and since my yards has no less than 40 trees I guess it qualifies. I spend untold amounts of time in my yard observing and photographing and I am constantly amazed at the amount of new species I come across. This year has been a record year for me in being able to add new and unique insects to my life list of bugs.

9 comments:

  1. Im pretty sure I captured one of these earlier this summer when i was traveling. to the owner of this website, what's your contact email?

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  2. Like this speciman, the antennae are unique, would like to know what they are for specifically, I will let you know if I find more.I would have guessed a nymph of a cricket whenI 1st looked.

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  3. Where are you from Bobby, these little critters are found all over the south eastern United States. My email is MOpiggys@aol.com

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  4. Thanks Steve, I will be curious to know if those antennae are good for something other than beauty.

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  5. These guys remind me of Jerusalem crickets. Except for the spectacular antennae.

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  6. cute little devil ;) the antennae is interesting but whats the appendage at the back end? a tail or receptical for depositing eggs in stems perhaps?

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  7. I thought the same thing Bio, that they superficially resembled the Jerusalem Cricket. I have never seen antennae so long.

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  8. Garlic, the little appendage at the backend is the ovipositor of the female. They carry it in a upwards fashion over their back.

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  9. I just killed one crawling on my ceiling. Are they common in western Pennsylvania?

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