Image: Mystery Tettigonid nymph

Mystery Tettigonid nymph

Unidentified Tettigonid nymph possibly of the genus Terpandrus

Martyn Robinson
© Australian Museum



Why can't the museum identify this?

Well the reason is the life histories of many Australian animals are largely unknown - particularly in the case of invertebrates. This means that if the adult stage of an animal is different in appearance to the juvenile stages then it can be very hard to determine what it will grow into. This, unfortunately, is the norm for most invertebrates. Almost all animals are named from adult specimens - NOT juveniles. So unless both adult and juvenile stages are well known, the only way we would be able to identify what species of Tettigonid grasshopper is on this image would be to raise it to adulthood, compare it to known species, and try to find a match. This, of course, would also be dependent on whether we knew, or could guess, the correct diet to feed it, and in the case of a solitary specimen it would need to survive all the way to adulthood without accident. Lastly even the adult may be an unknown species, or a species never before recorded from that area, which further adds delays.

Now you get some idea of why, when you send in a specimen or image of a baby spider or insect, we cannot always tell you what species it is from. 

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