Can you tell what this picture is of? And no, it isn’t robot armor or a Martian’s appendage, which is what it reminds me of… This is a photo of an ordinary sight that can be found on any given day at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. The photo has just been zoomed in and cropped. Have a guess? Scroll down to see if you’re right.
That is the leg of a grasshopper. Specifically, it is the leg of a differential grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis). These grasshoppers are found all over North America, including right here at Nature Boardwalk. One of the key features in identifying this species is the black check marks on their legs.
Now let’s try another picture. This one’s coloration is perfect for Halloween! Make a guess and scroll down for the answer.
That is the bright coloration of the back of a large milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus). These bugs eat the seeds of various milkweed plants, which we have at Nature Boardwalk.
Look closely and you never know what interesting things you’ll be able to see at the boardwalk!