Mysteries on the doorstep - solved by iNaturalist

Here's a place where iNaturalist shines.

We live on a salt marsh, and after Hurricane Nate we had tons of old marshgrass spread across our yard. In the process of cleaning it up, we discovered two new creatures, a bizarre-looking grasshopper and a weird, extremely flat very small bug. The grasshoppers were astoundingly well camouflaged in dead marsh grass unless they moved. The bugs weren't camouflaged; they settled on walls. Though there were hundreds, or thousands, of both, they were completely new to us.

My insect ID skills are pretty rudimentary, so I entered photos of both into iNaturalist. The robo identifier got the grasshopper (Leptysma marginicollis, cattail toothpick grasshopper) right away. It couldn't ID the flat bug, which was hard to photograph, but within a couple of weeks someone had suggested family Blissidae, which was enough hint for me to find Ischnodemus falicus, a salt marsh chinch bug that lives hidden in the leaf sheaths of one of the major marsh grasses. Two lovely salt marsh specialists that we had never seen in 10 years living here! And which would have remained a mystery if not for iNaturalist.

Posted by janetwright janetwright, November 10, 2017 20:35

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Cattail Toothpick Grasshopper Leptysma marginicollis

Observer

janetwright

Date

October 8, 2017 10:06 AM CDT

Description

Almost impossible to see in salt marsh debris

Photos / Sounds

Observer

janetwright

Date

October 10, 2017 04:19 PM CDT

Description

Emergence of thousands of these 2d after hurricane along salt marsh - seen on walls. Very flat body, piercing/sucking mouth parts, 4-segmented antennae, and very short wings.
I suspect it's Ischnodemus falicus, the salt marsh chinch bug, but didn't keep the specimens. This species lives in the leaf sheaths of the marsh grass Spartina alterniflora, which grows on the edge of our marsh (the marsh is primarily Juncus roemarianus). The marsh was completely inundated in the hurricane, and much of the marsh debris (old stems etc) was deposited in our yard.

Comments

Thumb

Thanks for sharing.

Posted by bob_p almost 3 years ago (Flag)

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