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Katydid Information

Basic information article contains identification and biology of katydids.

Pest Katydids    Other Katydids

Crickets    Grasshoppers    Katydids    Locusts    Wetas  

True Katydid    False Katydid    Meadow Katydid    Cone-headed Katydid   

Shield Backed Katydid    Greater Angle-Winged Katydid 

Katydid

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.

Katydids are identified by their long antennae that can grow up to two to three times the length of their body and is covered with sensory receptors to help find their way in the dark.  They are notorious for their plant like appearance and for their ability to blend in with vegetation.  Katydids are green and occasionally pink and can grow up to five inches in length.  They are nocturnal and sing in the evenings.

The katydid gets its name from the way the male and female songs sound.  They create sounds by rubbing a scraper on one forewing against another forewing.  It has hearing organs located inside a slit on its front legs.  Male song organs are located on their front wings and females chirp in response to the males song that sounds like “katy did, Katy didn’t.”  The song is usually used for courtship during the late summer. 

Katydids have adapted and come up with ways to hide from their predators.  They have excellent camouflage capabilities and are able to pose like leaves and mimic other insects.  Their predators are bats, birds, snakes and shrews.

Katydids feed on leaves, stems, flowers, fruit and a variety of plant seeds.  May species feed on insects, snails and small invertebrates like snakes and lizards.  Females lay her eggs in soil and the stems and bark of trees.  Nymphs are similar to adults but without wings. 

There are currently several hundred species of the Katydid located in North America, several species of which are considered pests because they feed on crops and citrus trees.Common Garden Katydid

Katydids

True Katydid    False Katydid    Meadow Katydid    Cone-headed Katydid    

True Katydid

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. 

False Katydid

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.

Meadow Katydid

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 Lesser Meadow Katydid has a slender body and wings that don’t extend past their abdomen. They also have a straight ovipositor for laying eggs. They are found in Eastern and Central North America and lives in fields and meadows. They feed on leaves, flowers, seed and the pollen of grasses. They produce one generation per year.
The Greater Meadow Katydid is more robust with wings that extend past the tip of their abdomen and a curved ovipositor. They are found in Eastern and Central North America with one species that reached California. They prefer to inhabit areas that are moist.

Cone-headed Katydid

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.

Katydids That Are Pests

Shield Backed Katydid    Greater Angle-Winged Katydid 

Shield Backed Katydid

Shield Backed Katydid

 

 

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.


Greater Angle-Winged Katydid

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. 
Greater Angle-Winged Katydid feed on the foliage of citrus trees during mid to late morning and severe defoliation can occur in young trees.  Sometimes they feed on the peel of growing oranges like some species of grasshoppers. The results are smooth sunken areas in the rind as the fruit develops.

Credits:
Our thanks to Lani Powell for research and writing which 
made this information page possible!

Pest Katydids    Other Katydids    Pest Control Supplies    Pest Management    Animals and Pests   Site Map 

Crickets    Grasshoppers    Katydids    Locusts    Wetas  

True Katydid    False Katydid    Meadow Katydid    Cone-headed Katydid   

Shield Backed Katydid    Greater Angle-Winged Katydid