Super Rare Grasshopper

LichenGrasshopper (Rare), photographed by Jeff Zablow at Panola Mountain State Park, GA
It’s special when you encounter an animal or plant that is extremely rare. We all pause, and approach, and examine, and show respect! We are obligated to consider how extraordinary this thing that we see is, how intricately it is constructed, how well adapted it is to its very special habitat. We may also fret, realizing how a pinpoint mega-storm can wipeout these small populations, living in their unique, threatened habitats. Me, I then remember to be Thankful for the opportunity to have met such special fauna or botany. You may know that in the ’80’s I was a NYNY realtor. I know that place, where every single square inch has been developed, and I think, Hope that unchecked development can be checked by you, who are along here, and who . . . care.

Phil, my friend in Georgia is a Naturalist, employed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. He, with his family along, guided me that 2016 morning. We hiked to a very special, restricted habitat in Panola Mountain State Park. We were seeking Juniper Hairstreak Butterflies.

Here on this granite hilltop, we found them. And we found other hard to find wildlife. This Lichen grasshopper is a rare, very specialized insect, found in diverse, limited habitat. Phil’s eagle eyes spotted this one. I did all, all of the above, and then worked to photograph it.

Here we are, eyeball to compound eye, with a tiny, threatened grasshopper that depends upon the lichens growing on remote granite hilltops. Truth be Told, I felt honored to have made its acquaintance. If Georgia keeps up its exemplary work, future photographers will revel at the same opportunity.

Jeff