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Posts Tagged ‘grasshoppers’

One night, several weeks ago, one of my neighbors called me to come outside to see a beautiful moth on the wall.  Searching my trusty Butterflies and Moths book, it looks to me like a Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia).  Whatever it was, beautiful it is!

Giant Leopard Moth

Earlier that same day, while walking home, I discovered this little grasshopper.  It was the first day of Oaxaca Sabe and I’m sure he was glad to have escaped winding up as an appetizer.  Perhaps he will find fame and fortune as an alebrije model.P1140117

And, then there are the lizards that skitter along my terrace and around on its walls doing “push-ups,” munching on less welcome insects, and entertaining me as I putter in the garden.

Common wall lizard

Just some of the city “wildlife” in my neighborhood!

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This morning’s sunshine (after days of gray) brought a visitor to my door…

Green grasshopper on screendoor

A Sphenarium purpurascens, also known as Chapulín de la milpa.  No cornfield nearby.  Hmmm… perhaps the recent storms blew it off course?

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Yippee!!!  A new, and extremely colorful, species of grasshopper has been discovered in the pine-oak forest of the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountain Range in Oaxaca.  Liladownsia fraile has been named for Oaxaca’s favorite daughter and one of my favorite performers, Lila Downs, someone I’ve written about often.

(Photo Credit: UCF)

(Photo Credit: UCF)

From Science Codex,

A newly discovered grasshopper by University of Central Florida scientists now bears the name of Grammy-award winning singer and activist Ana Lila Downs Sanchez.

The scientists named the new species discovered on the side of a mountain road near Oaxaca, Mexico, after the Mexican-American singer as a nod to her efforts to preserve indigenous culture and penchant for wearing colorful, local costumes as part of her performances.

“It was primarily Paolo’s idea to name the grasshopper after the singer” said Derek Woller, one of the authors of the paper referring to colleague Paolo Fontana. “He’s a big fan of Lila Downs (her stage name). The grasshopper is so beautiful, so vibrant and colorful. When he told us all about her, her work, her colorful clothes, and that she was born in the region where we found the specimens, we thought, yeah, that’s great, let’s do it.”  Read full article HERE.

According to the Zootaxa article, Studies in Mexican Grasshoppers: Liladownsia fraile, a new genus and species of Dactylotini (Acrididae: Melanoplinae) and an updated molecular phylogeny of Melanoplinae (a mouthful, I know, but the photos are worth scrolling through the article), Liladownsia fraile had been sighted in San José del Pacifico, Suchixtepec, and Pochutla.

By the way, if you are in Oaxaca, Lila Downs is performing tonight at the Teatro Macedonio Alcalá — a benefit for Fondo Guadalupe Musalem, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of the young indigenous women of Oaxaca through education.

poster for benefit

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Chapulines, illegal???  Say it ain’t so, Joe!!!

Woman selling chapulines from two large baskets.

One of the ubiquitous chapulines vendors in a Oaxacan mercado.

Article from yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle’s Inside Scoop:

La Oaxaquena banned from selling grasshopper tacos and fried tarantula

Posted on 06/08/2011 at 1:29 pm by Paolo Lucchesi in Controversy

A Channel 7 news report last night brought to light an insect crackdown at popular Mission taqueria La Oaxaquena.
In short, the health department said that La Oaxaquena could no longer sell its grasshopper tacos, because the insects — imported from Mexico — don’t come from an FDA-approved source.
Owner Harry Persaud tells Scoop that the ban actually happened about two months ago, and that it also put the kibosh on La Oaxaquena’s fried tarantula tortas.
“The City is worried people will get sick,” he says, pointing out that no one has gotten sick in the two-and-a-half years the exotic treats have been on the menu.
Persaud says it’s not a substantial loss in revenue, though the unique menu items definitely helped lure out-of-state visitors who wouldn’t otherwise head to La Oaxaquena. Also, he’s sent the tacos to different universities who want to do something clever for their biology department dinner or something like that. The City suggested he raise his own grasshoppers, so he’s flirting with that idea.
(But as Jonathan Kauffman points out, you can still get grasshoppers in San Jose.)
So why did the health department crack down now, after over two-plus years of carefree grasshopper and tarantula dining?
Persaud has a simple answer:
“Because we were in the news too much!”
SF won’t let restaurant owner sell grasshopper tacos [ABC]
La Oaxaquena: 2128 Mission Street, between 17th and 18th; (415) 621-5446

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