Basic information article contains identification and biology of katydids.
The katydid has been called the long-horned grasshopper because of its long and slender shape; however they are more similar and related to
crickets than grasshoppers.
They are in the same family as bush crickets, Mormon
crickets, and meadow grasshoppers.
The true katydid gets its name because it was the first species to have its call transcribed. They inhabit deciduous forests from Massachusetts to Florida and west to Texas and Kansas and northeast to Ontario. Their antennae is longer and stiffer that other katydids. Females lay one generation of eggs per year in the crevices of bark and soft plant tissue. If jostles or startled, they squawk loudly, raise its forewings, leap from their perch and flutter downward. Once they reach the ground, they walk to the nearest tree and climb the tree trunk.
The false katydid gets its name from the rapid “tic-tic-tic-tic” sound it makes, unlike the more traditional katydid call. They are short winged, have greenish to brown bodies that grow up to 2 ˝ inches long. They have long antennae and hind legs for jumping. Males generate their sound by rubbing their wings together. The false katydid is found throughout the southeast. Depending on the species, some are native to a particular state.
Similar to the cone-headed katydid, the meadow katydid has a rounded cone that projects beyond their antennae segments. Their bodies are brown and green and female adults feed at night on the seed of grasses. There are two types of the meadow katydid found in the eastern US.
The Cone-headed Katydid has wings that extend beyond their abdomen and a cone shaped head that is separated from its face by a gap. The cone can be straight pointed, bent pointed or round tipped depending on the species and the area they inhabit. They live from the Eastern US and Southeaster Canada and in the Southwestern US. They have oversized jaws and are strong fliers. There are currently 22 species of the Cone-headed katydid located in North America. They are identified by their brown or green colors. In the winter males are brown while the females are green, and during the summer both species are green. The adult female uses her ovipositor to wedge eggs between the stems and sheaths of root leaves or cattail and grasses. Mating usually begins in January. The Cone-headed Katydid is the only known katydid to have different calling songs for each season. Males often succumb to the phonotatic parasitoid fly.
There are currently 122 species of the Shield Backed Katydid in North America. They are identified by their short wings, brown or black body and a back that looks like a shield that extends over its wings.
The Shield Backed Katydids resemble robust crickets. They are also known as Wart Biters in Europe because they can bite if handled. Most of the shield backed katydids are flightless.
These insects are found in the western US with four species found in the East.
This Katydid inhabit open country and croplands. Some prey on other insects, while most eat plant material and dead insects. They are related to the
Mormon Cricket and can be pests at times by feasting on crops.
The Greater Angle-Winged katydid is a crop damaging pest throughout Florida.
They chew on leaves and the fruit of citrus trees. This katydid can grow up to 2 ˝ inches long, is bright green and has wings that resemble citrus leaves. They over winter and hatch in the spring bringing forth several generations per year.
Their population is usually increased from June to September. The eggs of the Greater Angle-Winged Katydid are laid out in rows along the edge of leaves in large trees.