Do Katydids Eat Plants? Unveiling Gardeners’ Dilemma

Katydids are fascinating insects belonging to the order Orthoptera, closely related to crickets and grasshoppers. Known for their distinctive long antennae and leaf-like appearance, there are about 6,400 species of katydids found worldwide, each exhibiting unique characteristics and behaviors.

A common question about these insects revolves around their diet. Indeed, most katydids are known to consume plant material, particularly leaves. Their herbivorous feeding habits contribute to their important role in the ecosystem, acting as a link in the food chain between plants and various animals such as birds, reptiles, and mammals that rely on them as a protein source.

However, it is essential to note that not all katydids have the same dietary preferences. Some species may also consume other small insects, making them omnivorous in nature. These variations in diet highlight the diverse nature of katydids and their adaptability to different environments and food sources.

Understanding Katydids

General Description

Katydids are a group of insects that are often mistaken for grasshoppers due to their similarities. However, they are more closely related to crickets. Katydids are known for their diverse sizes, colors, and shapes, as well as their distinctive songs produced by rubbing their wings together1.

Classification and Species

These fascinating insects belong to the order Orthoptera and the family Tettigoniidae. There are about 6,400 species of katydids found worldwide2. In North America alone, there are six subfamilies3.

Some common examples of katydids include:

  • Long-Horned Meadow Grasshoppers
  • Bush Katydids
  • Coneheads

Physical Characteristics

Katydids have several distinct features that set them apart. They have thin, long antennae often longer than their body4. Their wings usually resemble leaves in texture and color, typically green, which helps them blend into their surroundings5.

A comparison of katydids and grasshoppers:

Feature Katydids Grasshoppers
Antennae Long, thin Short, thick
Wings Leaf-like texture Not leaf-like
Coloring Mainly green Various colors
Related to Crickets Different group

Life Cycle and Mating

Katydids undergo incomplete metamorphosis, which consists of three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. Mating occurs when the male katydid serenades the female with his unique song by rubbing his wings together to attract her3. After mating, the female lay her eggs on plant stems or leaves, where they develop and hatch into nymphs. The nymphs closely resemble the adult form but lack wings. As they grow and molt, their wings develop gradually, eventually reaching adulthood.

In summary, understanding katydids includes learning about their classification, unique physical characteristics, and life cycle. Their key features are their long antennae, leaf-like wings, and mating behavior, which sets them apart from other insects like grasshoppers.

Katydids and Plant Consumption

Diet of Katydids

Katydids are primarily herbivorous insects that belong to the family Tettigoniidae. Their diet consists of various plant materials, such as:

  • Leaves: This is their most common food source. They consume a wide range of leafy plants and shrubs.
  • Fruit: Some katydids feed on citrus fruits and other fruit types.
  • Stems: Certain species with specialized ovipositors lay eggs in plant stems, which they may also consume.

Although most katydids have a plant-based diet, a few species prey on small insects like aphids and other arthropods.

Types of Plants Consumed

Katydids can consume a diverse variety of plants. Some common plants in their diet are:

  • Oak: They inhabit deciduous trees like oak, specifically in the crowns.
  • Eucalyptus: These large trees provide an abundant food source for katydids.
  • Acacia: The leaves and stems of this plant are consumed by certain katydid species.

Here’s a comparison table of different plant types consumed by katydids:

Plant Type Consumption Example
Leaves Main food source Leafy plants, shrubs
Fruit Occasional Citrus fruits, e.g., oranges, lemons
Stems Some species Oak, eucalyptus, acacia trees

In summary, while katydids mostly consume plants, some species also prey on insects. They inhabit various types of flora, including oak, eucalyptus, and acacia trees.

Impact on Gardens and Crops

Pest Status

Katydids, also known as long-horned meadow grasshoppers, are generally not considered a significant pest in gardens or crops. They do feed on plant material, especially leaves, but their impact is typically minimal and localized1.

Common Garden Pests

While katydids consume plant material, they are overshadowed by other garden pests, such as:

  • Aphids
  • Japanese beetles
  • Slugs
  • Whiteflies
  • Spider mites

These pests tend to cause more substantial damage to gardens and crops than katydids.

Damage Caused to Plants

Katydids feed by chewing on leaves, flowers, and occasionally fruit2. Their feeding can leave holes or notches in plant material, but this damage is generally superficial and does not affect the overall health of plants. In some cases, katydids may cause minor damage to fruit trees, such as citrus trees3, but the internal quality of the fruit is typically not affected.

Pros and Cons of Pest Control Methods for Katydids

Pros Cons
Less pesticide use (eco-friendly) Limited effectiveness
Hand-removal option (non-toxic) Labor-intensive

Given the limited damage typically caused by katydids, control methods such as pesticides are often unnecessary. In cases where control is desired, hand-removal of individual katydids can be a more eco-friendly alternative4.

Natural Roles and Benefits

Camouflage and Defense Mechanisms

Katydids are known for their remarkable ability to blend in with their environment, using their leaf-like green wings for camouflage. Their colors and shapes help protect them from predators. Some examples of katydids that use camouflage include:

  • Greater angle-wing (Leaf mimic)
  • Lichen katydid (Costa Rica)
  • Markia hysterix (Peruvian Amazon)

Apart from camouflage, katydids have other defense mechanisms, like spikes on their legs, which help deter predators.

Pollination

Katydids play a role in the pollination of plants. Female katydids have a flattened, bladelike ovipositor for laying eggs. As they visit plants to lay eggs, they inadvertently aid in transferring pollen.

Predators and Prey

Katydids are omnivores, feeding on a variety of plant material and occasionally other insects. As prey, they are hunted by various animals, including spiders and birds.

In response to predation, katydids have evolved different hunting strategies. For example, some katydids use their long antennas to detect prey, while others rely on their camouflage to ambush unsuspecting victims.

Common Garden Katydid Life Cycle

Stage Description Duration
Eggs Laid by female in plant tissue Months
Nymphs Hatch from eggs; resemble adults, but smaller 3 – 10 molts
Adult Fully developed; capable of reproduction 1 year

Katydids are most active during summer and produce a mating call using their wings to attract females and establish territory. Their life cycle includes eggs, nymphs, and adult stages. The duration of each stage differs, but katydids generally live for about a year.

These insects contribute to their environment by providing food for predators and aiding in plant pollination. Conservation efforts may help maintain their populations and support the habitats in which they live.

Use this comparison table to understand the similarities and differences between two common katydids:

Feature Greater Angle-Wing Katydid Common True Katydid
Size Medium-sized Medium-sized
Color Green Green
Wings Leaf-like, larger angle Leaf-like
Habitat Gardens, wooded areas Gardens, wooded areas
Mating Call rasp wings together rasp wings together

Captive Care of Katydids

Housing Requirements

Caring for katydids in captivity requires attention to their living environment. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Space: A large enclosure, at least twice the length of the katydid’s body, is ideal. This ensures they have enough room to move comfortably.
  • Ventilation: Adequate air flow is essential, so choose a mesh or screen-top container for their habitat.
  • Humidity: Katydids prefer a moderately humid environment; maintain humidity levels around 60-70% by misting the enclosure regularly.
  • Temperature: A temperature range of 75-85°F (24-29°C) is suitable for most katydids. Use a heat mat or lamp if necessary to maintain this temperature.
  • Hiding spots: Provide leaves, branches, and other natural materials for your katydid to hide and climb on.

Feeding and Diet

Katydids are primarily herbivorous and feed on a variety of plants. In captivity, owners should provide a balanced diet consisting of:

  • Leaves: Fresh, pesticide-free leaves from trees and plants, such as oak, maple, and rose, should make up the bulk of their diet.
  • Fruits: Katydids can also enjoy occasional slices of fruit, like apples and pears, as a treat.
  • Extra nutrients: To support katydid nymphs’ growth, supplement their diet with protein sources like fish flakes or cricket food.

Understanding and meeting these housing and dietary requirements will greatly contribute to the successful captive care of katydids.

Footnotes

  1. Katydids Long-Horned Meadow Grasshoppers; Bush Katydids; Coneheads 2
  2. Katydids – Wisconsin Horticulture 2
  3. Katydids – Home and Garden IPM from Cooperative Extension 2 3
  4. PDF katydids – Master Gardener Program 2
  5. Katydids (Family Tettigoniidae) – Field Station

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Eastern Shieldback Katydid

 

Bug in Florida
Location: NW Florida
July 8, 2011 6:37 pm
looked like a grasshopper but with a tail. When approached it antenna went wide. When placed on ground it scurried but did not hop. Dogs have been digging in yard lately, it is unusual behavior for them. Could they be digging these up and eating them? If they are eating them are they toxic? I also have kids and wonder if they pose any danger?
Signature: Theresa Lawson

Eastern Shieldback Katydid

Hi Theresa,
This is an Eastern Shieldback Katydid in the genus
Atlanticus, which we identified on BugGuide and she is a female as evidenced by her long ovipositor which you have called a tail.  BugGuide states that they are “Said to be strong biters” however, they do not possess any venom, and it is questionable that a bite would even draw blood.  They are not a toxic species, so you don’t need to fear for your dogs’ health should they happen to eat them, nor do you need to have anything to fear if your children eat them.  Many members of the insect order Orthoptera, which includes Katydids, are considered valuable food sources in areas of the world that do not find entomophagy to be repulsive.  There is a movement afoot of late to educate the public on the nutritional value of insects, and David Gracer, a noted expert in the area of entomophagy, frequently notifies us when we post images of insects that are consumed in various parts of the world.  We are going to go out on a limb and tag this as an Edible Insect, and we will copy David Gracer on this response so that he can provide his input.

Hi Daniel and Theresa,
Your tagging of this insect is correct; like just about all North American Orthoptera [I don’t know of any exceptions], this species would be entirely edible for dogs or people.  I’ve tried katydids from Florida, as well as lubber grasshoppers; the latter are gamey and not entirely pleasant to eat, but katydids are generally quite tasty [though they spoil very quickly, so they must be fresh].
I’m making good progress on securing a commercial source of processed katydids from Uganda; they are are called Nsenene there, are in the genus Ruspolia, and are quite similar to the American genus Neoconocephalus.  They’re totally delicious, and I’ll make an official announcement on WTB when they are in.
Best,
Dave
www.smallstockfoods.com

Letter 2 – Drumming Katydid (in Western Canada???)

 

katydid far from home?
Hi,
Last summer two male katydids courted a female above my front door for a couple of weeks, which was really exciting because I live in Vancouver, Canada – not exactly prime katydid territory. I spent hours trying to identify their species, researching them online, using taxonomic keys, and comparing ovipositors, but I kept getting stumped when it came down to species’ range maps. Based on anatomy alone, I was 99% sure that our visitors were drumming katydids (Meconema thalassinum), despite the fact that all the information I’d found on the species puts their range about 3500km east of here. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a clear enough photo to submit to you (unless you can id blurry green blobs) and so the best I could do was to reassure myself that I’d identified them correctly. Well, lo and behold, a lone male has appeared in the same spot again this year and I have a brand new zoom lens for my camera. I’d be really grateful if you could confirm that this IS a drumming katydid and if so, how rare the species is out here. I mean, should I be calling up the local entomology department to have them document the find? Or is the info I’ve found totally out of date & these guys are really common in BC? Thanks so much! You guys rock!
C.S.

Dear C.S.,
We also believe your identification of the Drumming Katydid is correct. There is a near identical match on BugGuide and the range is listed as Southern New England. Why is it in Vancouver? Global Warming? Possible accidental introduction? We think you should check with local experts and we will inquire with Eric Eaton if he has an opinion on the matter. Thanks for sending in your photo and story. Eric Eaton has verified the identification: “Yes, it is a drumming katydid (male), and its occurence should probably be reported to provincial agriculture authorities, eh? Seriously, it may be of interest to BC entomologists.”

Letter 3 – Conehead Katydid from Madagascar

 

Subject: Madagascan cricket
Location: Ifaty, Madagascar
September 20, 2014 2:07 am
Are you able to id this Madagascan cricket? Seen on a night visit to a small nature reserve at Ifaty on the coast of south west Madagascar.
Signature: Niall Corbet

Unknown Ensiferan
Conehead Katydid

Hi again Niall,
We are contacting Piotr Naskrecki about this Ensiferan as well.

Thanks Daniel, I look forward to his thoughts.
Cheers, Niall

Karl Provides and Identification:  September 23, 2014
Hi Daniel and Niall:
I believe this may be the same species as in the previous post, Colossopus grandidieri, but a sub-adult this time. Hopefully Piotr Naskrecki can confirm, correct or clarify. Regards Karl.

We are always appreciative of your excellent research Karl.

Many thanks Daniel. I would never have guessed that they were the same species! Is the pale coloured one a female and the dark one a male?
Regards, Niall

Letter 4 – Common Meadow Katydid

 

Subject: What kind of katydid is this?
Location: Central Ohio
October 24, 2013 3:55 pm
I took this picture of a katydid on my screen door. He was eating small insects. When I googled red-eyed katydid, the sites I found identified it as a red-eyed devil katydid. However, everything I’ve read on the Internet places them in Texas. I live in Ohio. Is this a different kind of katydid or is this a rare sighting?
He also occasionally rubbed his head with his foot, the way a cat does when it’s washing its face. Why would he do this?
Signature: Bug Friend

Common Meadow Katydid
Common Meadow Katydid

Dear Bug Friend,
You are correct that this is not a Red Eyed Devil.  We believe we have correctly identified it as one of the Greater Meadow Katydids, possibly a Common Meadow Katydid,
Orchelimum vulgare, thanks to this image posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, it is:  “Rather small for an Orchelimum. Has a rather plain green face, not mottled like most others of its genus. Eyes red. Typically (?) long-winged. Has two black lines on “dorsal shield”. See Internet references for details on keying by cerci of male.” This Greater Meadow Katydid is actually a female, not a male.  The curved sickle-like ovipositor is the indication she is a female.  Katydids and other insects often groom their antennae to keep debris from interfering with their sensory abilities. 

Letter 5 – Common Short-winged Katydid

 

Katydid – What Species
Hi Bug Guy,
I Love this site – whatsthatbug.com . I have identified so many insects here! Thanks. Here is a very recent photo of a Katydid that is very abundant in Dragoon, AZ right now. Can you tell me which species of Katydid this is? Thanks so much!
Carol Breton
Benson, Arizona

Hi Carol,
This is a Common Short-winged Katydid, a Dichopetala species. According to BugGuide, these medium sized, robust Katydids are found in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Letter 6 – Common True Katydid

 

Subject: What is it?
Location: Hilton Head, SC
September 10, 2013 6:20 pm
Hi, this bug seemed to be dying in the stairwell in Hilton Head, SC. It was large, body at 2 inches. Are these making the loud noise in the trees?
Signature: Norman

Common True Katydid
Common True Katydid

Hi Norman,
This appears to us to be a Common True Katydid,
Pterophylla camellifolia, and they are “singing” insects.  According to BugGuide:  ” Both sexes stridulate ‘katy-did, katy-didn’t’ at dusk into night. Song varies geographically.”

Letter 7 – Common True Katydid

 

Subject: leaf looking bug
Location: Nashville, TN USA
August 10, 2014 7:27 am
Could you tell me what this is?
Signature: timmyd

Common True Katydid
Common True Katydid

Hi timmyd,
You are quite correct when you indicate the Common True Katydid,
Pterophylla camellifolia, is an excellent camouflage artist that looks exactly like a leaf.  The sickle-shaped ovipositor protruding from the edge of her wing tips is an indication this is a female.

Letter 8 – Common True Katydid

 

Subject:  Any ideas what this is?
Geographic location of the bug:  Travelers Rest SC
Date: 07/08/2019
Time: 12:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’m wondering if you can help me identify this? It’s in a corner of the porch ceiling.
How you want your letter signed:  margottc

Common True Katydid

Dear margottc,
This is a male Common True Katydid,
Pterophylla camellifolia, and you can verify its identity by comparing your image to this BugGuide image.  The female of the species has a stinger-like ovipositor.  According to BugGuide, they feed on:  “Foliage of deciduous trees, and shrubs.”

Letter 9 – Common True Katydid

 

Subject:  Large green bug on my house in August
Geographic location of the bug:  Wanaque, NJ 07465 USA
Date: 09/22/2019
Time: 09:38 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw this large green bug on the side of my house on a sunny hot afternoon in August. I live in Northern NJ not far from Ramapo State Forest. I have never seen this bug before or since. I would love to know what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Mark

Common True Katydid

Dear Mark,
This is a male Common True Katydid, one of the music makers of the insect world.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.  According to BugGuide, the habitat is:  “Deciduous forests–often heard, but seldom seen, since mostly lives in forest canopy.”

So that’s what a Katydid looks like! Thank you so much!
-Mark W.

Our pleasure.

Letter 10 – Cone-Head

 

Mystery bugs
Hi. I just found your site… fascinating! When I lived in north Texas, I took pics of two bugs that I never was able to identify. Maybe you can? The big green bug (katydid or grasshopper?) was spotted in late February when the bugs are just waking up, so I suspect it’s pretty young.
Thanks!

It is difficult to be certain due to the angle, but this looks like a Cone-Head, a group of Katydids in the genus Neoconocephalus. The other photo is of an immature Hemipteran.

Letter 11 – Cone-head from China

 

Insect identification- grasshopper?
Dear Sir/Madam
I live in the UK and found this insect in the packaging of a USB hub, that said it was made in China. Is it possible you could identify this for me. Actual size is 6 cm long from nose to wing tip.
Many thanks
Pat Jones (Mrs) 57yrs

Hi Pat,
Your foundling bears an uncanny resemblance to a group of Katydids known as Cone-heads. She is a female, recognizeable by the large ovipositor on the tail end. Your story helps to explain how often exotic plants and animals often find themselves far from home, and if the conditions are right, they are able to prosper and multiply.

Letter 12 – Cone-Head Katydid

 

Shrimp-like Grasshopper
Hello,
I found this interesting grasshopper this morning in Sarasota, FL. I have never seen anything like it. It almost looked more like a shrimp than an insect. I have attached a few pictures. Please let me know if you can identify it. I will go crazy until I find out what it is! Thank you so much!
Jami Rhoades
Bradenton, FL

Hi Jami,
We are thrilled to be able to post your photos of a Cone-Head Katydid in the genus Belocephalus. We quickly identified it on BugGuide because of an image sent from Florida.

Update: (07/03/2008) Katydid IDs from Piotr Naskrecki
Hi,
I have been looking at the page with unidentified katydids (Katydids 2), and thought I could help with some ID’s. From top to bottom they are: Conehead – Belocephalus (possibly sabalis)

Letter 13 – Conehead

 

Is this a known species?
Location:  East Coast of FL (Plam bay, FL 32908)
September 25, 2010 3:13 pm
I found this grasshopper looking bug on my patio. Viewed from the top it looks just like a Shrimp! and its back end is interesting because it has a 1/2-3/4 in stinger pertruding out its rear. it has no wings, very squishy underside and hard shell on the top. I hope you can help me identify it. I’ve sent it off to a friend who is going to have a professor look at it and try to identify it in a lab. My camera is not very good at taking close up pictures. I do have a video though of it if you wanted more detail. let me know if you want the video.
Signature:  Angela Efinger

Conehead

Hi Angela,
This is a female Conehead Katydid in the genus
Belocephalus.  According to BugGuide, they are:  “Usually associated with small palms, including saw and cabbage palmettos” and they have “been observed eating palm fronds.”

Letter 14 – Conehead

 

Green Bug
Location: FL
July 24, 2011 3:49 pm
I moved to FL not too long ago and saw this green bug. Nobody I’ve talked to knows what it is. Do you?
Signature: Patti

Conehead

Hi Patti,
This Katydid is commonly called a Conehead.  We believe it is an immature nymph as it does not have wings.  We will contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can provide a species identification.

Piotr Naskrecki provides an ID
Hi Daniel,
This is a male of Belocephalus, possibly B. davisi, but impossible to say for sure without examining its genitalia and the stridulatory apparatus (there are 13 very similar species in the genus).
Cheers,
Piotr

Letter 15 – Conehead

 

Creepy Bug
Location: Naples, FL
October 21, 2011 2:05 pm
We don’t know what this bug is and its freaking everyone out. Help us solve this mystery
Signature: Panicked

Conehead Katydid

Dear Panicked,
You had an encounter with one of the Conehead Katydids, and we believe this is one of members of the genus
Belocephalus, based on photos posted to Bugguide.  They are “Usually associated with small palms, including saw and cabbage palmettos” and “Has been observed eating palm fronds” according to Bugguide.

Letter 16 – Conehead

 

Subject: Is this a katydid?
Location: Orlando, Florida
October 23, 2015 1:08 pm
Hello Bugman!
We’ve just returned from a holiday at Disney, Orlando (1st holiday abroad from the UK) and we were loving the native bugs. We snapped a photo of me holding a bug I picked up outside the hotel door and we are not sure what it is, we believe that it’s a kind of katydid or grasshopper but would appreciate your help.
Many thanks
Signature: Sallie and Glenn Kimberley, UK

Conehead
Conehead

Dear Sallie and Glenn,
This is a Conehead Katydid, possibly the Broad-Tipped Conehead,
Neoconocephalus triops, which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide the range is:  “Southern United States: Long Island south to Florida. Across south to southern California.”

Letter 17 – Conehead

 

Subject:  Unknown Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Ocala, Florida
Date: 09/21/2018
Time: 09:36 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this insect on the outside of our screened lanai.  Any help in identifying it would be greatly appreciated.
How you want your letter signed:  Nan

Conehead

Dear Nan,
This is a Short-Winged Conehead Katydid in the genus
Belocephalus, and here is a BugGuide image for verification.  According to BugGuide:  “Usually associated with small palms, including saw and cabbage palmettos” and “Has been observed eating palm fronds.”   The ovipositor indicates your individual is female.

Letter 18 – Conehead from China

 

Coneheaded Grasshopper from China
Location: Guangzhou, China
December 12, 2011 1:33 am
Hello found this little guy sunbathing on my grill behind my house. I live in Guangzhou, China. Picture was taken just two weeks ago but Southern China never really gets much cooler than about 10 degrees C.
Signature: CTSH

Conehead

Dear CTSH,
Though you correctly identified a Conehead, you are mistaken that it is a grasshopper.  Your Conehead is actually one of the Katydids.  Grasshoppers are distinguished from most of the other Orthopterans by their relatively short antennae.  Katydids and many other Orthopterans are classified together into the suborder Ensifera, the Longhorned Orthopterans.

Letter 19 – Conehead Katydid

 

Grasshopper-Crayfish
Location: Southern Palm Bay, FL
October 23, 2011 12:12 pm
Found this little beastie while out geocaching today. It had apparently been taken down by somehing else (possibly a car) and although still alive, the ants were already swarming for their feast.
I’ve looked all through my bug book and came up empty handed.
Signature: Wolfeitz

Conehead Katydid

Dear Wolfeitz,
Just yesterday we posted another photo and letter from Florida of this Conehead Katydid in the genus
Belocephalus.

Conehead Katydid

Letter 20 – Conehead Katydid

 

what bug is this?
Location: Bradenton florida
November 3, 2011 8:51 am
this bug has been moving behind a web for a couple days. Its about 3 1/2 inches long. It dosent look like a spider, but Ive never seen it before. I live in florida.
Signature: kyle k

Conehead Katydid

Hi Kyle,
This is the third photo from FLorida we have received in two weeks of a Conehead Katydid in the genus
Belocephalus.

Letter 21 – Conehead Katydid

 

Unknown(Grasshopper like)
Location: western Massachusetts in the Berkshires.
November 15, 2011 12:36 pm
Hi, i was working at a Supermarket in produce to find a bug that looks like a grasshopper, is brown, flat top and flat head, 6 legs, and the thing which gets me is it has Red pincers which are black tipped. found in the eastern United states, western Massachusetts in the Berkshires.
Signature: Justin Klahn

Conehead Katydid

Hi Justin,
From your profile shot through the container, it appears that this Katydid is a Conehead, possibly even the Broad-Tipped Conehead, Neoconocephalus triops, which is pictured on BugGuide.

Conehead Katydid

Letter 22 – Conehead Katydid

 

Subject: Coneheaded Katydid
Location: Deer Park, TX
January 23, 2013 9:54 pm
My children and I heard this noisy insect in the garage. We went to investigate and discovered him/her. I am thinking it is a Coneheaded Katydid. What are your thoughts? After my kids looked at him/her for a while, we released it into the backyard. I am a little shocked an insect of this size (2-2.5 in) was already up and about in January.
Signature: M.

Conehead

Dear M.,
Based on this photo from Bugguide, this looks to us like it might be a Round-Tipped Conehead,
Neoconocephalus retusus, and since you heard it and since it lacks an ovipositor, we know it is a male.

Letter 23 – Conehead Katydid

 

Subject: I give up.
Location: Central Florida east coast
October 1, 2013 6:42 am
Found this big guy hanging from the ceiling of our front porch this morning. His body is 3-4 inches long and he’s bigger than my hand including his legs.
Signature: Timid Guy

Conehead
Conehead

Dear Timid Guy,
This is one of the Conehead Katydids in the tribe Copiphorini which is pictured on BugGuide.

Letter 24 – Conehead Katydid

 

Subject: 6 legged insect
Location: eastern south carolina
December 7, 2013 6:05 am
Could you identify this insect I saw in my yard
Signature: Jim Sambroak

Conehead Katydid
Conehead Katydid

Hi Jim,
This is a female Conehead Katydid in the subfamily Conocephalinae, and in our opinion, it most closely resembles members of the genus
Belocephalus, including Belocephalus sabalis, the Palmetto Conehead, however that genus and species have only been reported from Florida according to BugGuide.  We will try to contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can verify our identification or provide a correction.

Conehead Katydid
Conehead Katydid

 

Letter 25 – Conehead Katydid

 

Subject:  Some Type of Katydid
Geographic location of the bug:  Anderson, Indiana
Date: 09/22/2018
Time: 12:40 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this little Katydid on the flowers in my driveway. It seems somewhat similar to the Meadow Katydids I’ve seen in our yard, but this one was much bigger.
How you want your letter signed:  Christa Massey

Conehead Katydid

Dear Christa,
This is one of the Conehead Katydids in the genus ,
Neoconocephalus.  Because of the extremely long ovipositor that extends well beyond the wing tips, we suspect this might be Neoconocephalus retusus based on this BugGuide image.  Of the entire genus, BugGuide notes:  “Adults feed mostly on seeds of grasses, sometimes sedges. Nymphs feed on grass flowers, developing seeds.

Letter 26 – Conehead Katydid or Slant-faced Grasshopper

 

Texas bug
Hi,
Me and my wife caught this bug at night in the Dallas area of texas, there were several out at night making a loud continous noise. We have no idea what type of bug it is looks sort of like a grasshopper and kinda like a katydid.
Thanks,
Chris & Danielle

Hi Chris and Danielle,
We decided to get the opinion of Eric Eaton before responding to you. Here is what he has to say: “Looks like a coneheaded katydid, if the antennae are long and filamentous. Good thing she is holding it that way, they can bite REALLY hard! I speak from experience:-) If the antennae are shorter, and sword-shaped, then it is a slant-faced grasshopper of some kind. That is the best I can do, not being able to manipulate the image in any way.”

Letter 27 – Creosote Bush Katydid

 

Hoover Dam bug
What is this bug? I found it on top of Hoover dam. Thanks,
Mariette Maus

Hi Mariette,
This is a Creosote Bush Katydid, Insara covilleae. It surely is a colorful specimen.

Letter 28 – Creosote Bush Katydid

 

This Katydid likes water
We live in Surprise Arizona and we were swimming in our pool tonight and found this weird looking grasshopper. I saved him and told the boys we would find out what it is on the net. Well we couldnt find out what it was exactly only to learn that it is a Katydid at least I think. By the way how do you pronounce Katydid?
Rob

Hi Rob,
We needed to turn to Eric Eaton for a proper identification of your colorful Katydid (as in Katie did the dishes.) Here is his reply: “It is a species of Insara, can’t tell which one. One goes by the name of Creosote Bush Katydid, but all are from the southwest U.S. Nifty! Eric”

Letter 29 – Creosote Bush Katydid

 

Some Creosote Bush Katydid photos for you!
August 8, 2009
Hello!
The other night I heard an unusual, quiet buzzing noise coming from a creosote bush outside of my house. I hunted for the source of the noise with a flashlight and found this little guy! (took forever to spot him, though)
He was still on the bush in the morning, so I took some pictures (again, it took a while to find him; I thought he was gone, and just as I was about to stop looking, he happened to move and I spotted him!). I just thought I’d share a picture or two with you. I hope you enjoy them!
I zoomed in on one of his back legs to show how he’s holding on to the bush. I thought it was interesting to see up close. =)
With the help of your site, I was able to identify this little guy as a Creosote Bush Katydid (I hope I’m right!).
Thank you for this incredible website!
Cassandra
Victorville, California

Creosote Bush Katydid
Creosote Bush Katydid

Hi Cassandra,
Thanks for sending us your photographs of a male Creosote Bush Katydid, Insara covilleae.  BugGuide only has submissions from Arizona.  Since this species feeds on creosote bush, the Creosote Bush Katydid ranges where the food source grows.

Letter 30 – Creosote Bush Katydid

 

green bug
Location:  Yucca, Az
October 17, 2010 9:51 pm
When I found this bug I thought it was dead. When I put it in a cup it came alive. Please tell me what it is. Thanks.
Signature:  Mrs. Miller

Creosote Bush Katydid

Dear Mrs. Miller,
The markings on this Creosote Bush Katydid,
Insara covilleae, are unmistakable.  The ovipositor indicates that she is a female.

Letter 31 – Creosote Bush Katydid

 

Creosote Katydid
Location: Tucson, AZ
September 7, 2011 8:23 am
I wrote to you recently asking about the identity of the insect pictured below. Thanks to a fellow docent, I now have an ID, so thought I would save you the trouble of doing the research. I’m told it is Insara covilleae, the Creasote Katydid.
Signature: Carole

Creosote Katydid

Hi Carole,
Though our summer was far from leisurely, returning to the classroom last week has put a serious dent into the amount of time we can devote to formatting letters and photos and posting them to our website.  Thank you for taking the time to resubmit this lovely image of a male Creosote Bush Katydid.

Letter 32 – Creosote Bush Katydid

 

Subject: Green Monster
Location: Phoenix, AZ
September 16, 2012 1:23 am
Dear Bugman,
This guy (girl?) flew into my car as I was on my way out tonight. Needless to say, I was a bit late getting going by the time I got it out of the car and got pictures. It’s about two inches long. It’s not a very coordinated flyer. I live in Phoenix, AZ. This was mid-September, and about 9pm. What’s that bug???
Signature: Monica

Creosote Bush Katydid

Hi Monica,
This is a Creosote Bush Katydid,
Insara covilleae, a desert species found in the southwest.  You can find additional information on BugGuide.

Letter 33 – Creosote Bush Katydid

 

Subject: Is this a grasshopper?
Location: Lake Havasu, AZ
April 20, 2015 7:23 pm
This looks like a grasshopper but I can’t find anything green with the white stripes.
Signature: Sharon Thompson

Creosote Bush Katydid
Creosote Bush Katydid

Dear Sharon,
Though it is in the same insect order as a Grasshopper, this female Creosote Bush Katydid,
Insara covilleae, like other members of its suborder, has much longer antennae than a Grasshopper.  The Sonoran Desert Naturalist has this to say about the Creosote Bush Katydid and its host plant:  “Creosote Bush, however, offers unique challenges to herbivores, for example the high content of coating resin and other antifeeding phytochemicals. The leaves are tough and leathery while often having a very low moisture content. Also it presents a unique pattern of colors and textures. Many insects that have become adapted to feed on creosote bush have evolved color patterns to match. Even naturalists may give up searching bushes for this common insect before finding it. Like many katydids, this one often comes to lights where they are easily seen.”

Letter 34 – Creosote Bush Katydid

 

Subject: Funky Katydid
Location: Goodyear, AZ
September 19, 2015 10:30 pm
I found this striking creature sitting in the morning sun outside my front door. It looks like some kind of katydid. Most interesting to me is that odd structure on its tail end.
Thanks
Signature: Katy Doesn’t

Creosote Bush Katydid
Creosote Bush Katydid

Dear Katy Doesn’t,
Your very distinctive Katydid is a Creosote Bush Katydid,
Insara covilleae, and the structure is the ovipositor of the female.

Letter 35 – Crested Katydid from Australia

 

Can you possibly identify this insect?
An aquaintance of mine from Western Australia found this outside her house. She said it was approximately 7 cm long, but was judging from site. She has no idea what it is, and found the venus-flytrap looking crest on its head quite interesting. She thought it might be some sort of grasshopper, but the rear legs and femur doesn’t look like a grasshopper to me. My guess was a type of katydid, but I couldn’t find anything with a head and short stubby body like it has. She took these 2 views of the insect. Any ideas? We are quite curious. Thanks in advance! And not only have I found your site quite interesting, you helped me identify a stinkbug infestation I had in my own home.
Cat

Hi Cat,
Back in November, we got another image of this same species, and we were unable to identify it at that time. This time a web search turned up an image without any identification. It was taken in Pilbara Western Australia. It has us baffled that an insect this distinct cannot be identified via the internet. For now, we will just call it a Crested Katydid.

Update (03/29/2006) We just got the following letter:
Hi Bugman, I noticed the picture of the ‘crested katydid’ you had been sent from Australia. I believe this is the Superb Katydid (Alectoria superba). Hope this is of help. Keep up the good work.
Aaron in London, UK

Letter 36 – Crested Katydid from Australia

 

What the hell is this Bug?


It is some type of dead and sqashed Orthopteran, probably a grasshopper. Though the body is very short, the long straight wings and long jumping legs indicate some type of grasshopper. Your coin is unfamiliar, and you gave no location, so any attempt at an exact species is impossible.

Update: (05/30/2006) Recently, upon receiving additional images of this Crested Katydid, we properly identified it on our Katydid page. This letter just arrived though.
I can ID both the coin and the ‘hopper on your 02/19/2004 entry It’s the crested Grasshopper (Alectoria superba family Tettigonidae) and is a native of central Australia as is the Australian 10 cent coin shown with it! Actually – no need as I see several other people have already done so ahead of me. I liked the site tho’
Sincerely
Martyn Robinson

Hi Martyn,
Thanks to your letter, we realized we still had an unidentified image of the Crested Katydid remaining on the grasshopper page. We have posted your letter and cleaned up our classification.

Letter 37 – Ctenucha and Neduba Katydid Sierra Shieldback

 

Moth and katydid
Hi,
Attached are two pictures of a moth and one of a female katydid. Both species were photographed at low elevations in southwestern Oregon. The moth was at a Tansy Ragwort flower in late summer close to the coast, and there may have been two species present or both sexes of one species. I suspect it (they?) is a member of the genus Ctenucha. I found the katydid on our deck after a cold night in late autumn and I placed it on a leaf to photograph it. I think the katydid is a member of the shield back group (given that structure, it should be!), but I have not been able to identify it. Your website is excellent. If you can use these photographs in any way, please feel free to do so.
Bob Pollock
Roseburg, OR

Hi Bob,
Your moth is a Ctenucha and we wrote to Eric Eaton to see if he recognized your Katydid. Here is his response: ” Well, that’s just plain bizarre! I don’t recognize it, and it is very difficult to tell anything conclusive from a dorsal aspect alone. However, it does remind me of an insect in the katydid genus Neduba. The powers that be have reorganized that genus, so I couldn’t begin to tell you what species it might be. There is also always the possibility that it is something exotic that got loose. My bet would still be on Neduba. Any chance this person can post it to Bugguide where it will get more (professional) eyes looking at it? Eric ” We would like to post your Katydid on BugGuide to see if we can get an exact species. If you don’t mind, please let us know.

Ed. Note: Eric Eaton continued to research including getting an expert opinion from Rick Westcott who is retired from the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture. Here is that information on the Sierra Shieldback, Neduba sierranus :
Holotypic male, from Orthoptera Species File Online (Naskrecki & Otten 1997+), Of course, the image you sent is of a female. If not the same species, it is close. The same Google search did not turn up this species as occurring in Oregon. Cheerio chap, Rick Westcott, retired from the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture ” Eric concluded with this comment: “Wish my friend had included the species name with this image of a Neduba, but at least he lists the site. The submission could well be a range extension for the species, don’t know yet.”

Hi again, Attached are two more photographs of the unusual katydid. One is from the side and the other is a close-up of the unusual dorsal structure. The katydid was so different from other katydids I have seen that I should have collected it but, of course, I didn’t. I hope it’s not an exotic that might prove to be a problem – we have more than enough of those already! I didn’t measure it, but the katydid was about the same size as the Fork-tailed Bush Katydids I had photographed in the summer. If anyone needs higher-resolution files for identification purposes, please let me know. And please feel free to post the pictures on BugGuide. Thanks for all your help and for the Ctenucha verification.
Bob

Letter 38 – Dried Leaf Mimic Katydid from Nicaragua

 

Subject: Help please
Location: Nicaragua
February 12, 2015 1:16 am
We saw this bug in a bromeliad in cloud forest in Nicaragua. It was described to us at the time as a leaf bug, but I suspect that this is generic term meaning “I don’t have a clue”! Can you help identify it please?
Signature: Emcee

Leaf Mimic Katydid
Dried Leaf Mimic Katydid

Dear Emcee,
This looks nearly identitical to a Dried Leaf Mimic Katydid in the genus
Mimetica from Belize that we recently posted.  Your individual seems to have lost one of its jumping legs.

Letter 39 – Drumming Katydid

 

Cricket?
Location: Portland, Oregon
August 15, 2011 3:12 am
Dear bugman,
I’m interested to know specifically what kind of bug this is that I found residing in my new apartment. If you know any additional information like what kind of plants he likes or hides out in, that would be cool too.
Signature: -Curious

Drumming Katydid

Dear Curious,
This is actually a Quite Calling Katydid known as the Drumming Katydid,
Meconema thalassinum, and you can tell she is a female because of her ovipositor.  See BugGuide for additional information.

Drumming Katydid

Letter 40 – Drumming Katydid

 

I call him Perry – what would you call him?
Location: Vancouver, BC
August 24, 2011 10:29 am
Hi Bugman,
This green bug showed up on my ceiling the other day, and returned again today (its late August). I live in a 3rd-floor apartment in Vancouver, BC.
I have never seen anything like him before – he has wings, but didn’t try to use them when I went to catch him in a glass, and then he happily clung to the side of that glass while I tried to shake him out the window. I think he looks sort of like a grasshopper, but without the giant back legs to help him hop!
Thanks!
Signature: Glenda

Drumming Katydid

Dear Glenda,
We have identified this Orthopteran as a male Drumming Katydid,
Meconema thalassinum, by matching it to a photo on BugGuide.  We were surprised to learn this on BugGuide:  “According to the Singing Insects of North Americs website, the subfamily of Meconematinae is represented in the US by only one species, M. thalassinum, which has been introduced from Europe.”

Letter 41 – Eastern Shieldback Katydid

 

Subject:  Brown Katydid?
Geographic location of the bug:  South Carolina
Date: 07/04/2018
Time: 12:53 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello, I am big on insects and always been a huge fan of the site! The website is very helpful and I am very happy it exists!
I am usually on point with my insects but this one female katydid (from what I believe she is) got me pretty stumped. I fed her a banana and she went insane for it! I was able to gain her trust and got some neat photos of her, any idea of what kind of katydid she is?
Hope my photography is helpful! I have more photos if you need more to see of her..I like taking photos of crawlies hehe!
How you want your letter signed:  Lily P.

Eastern Shieldback

Dear Lily,
This is an Eastern Shieldback Katydid in the genus
Atlanticus and according to BugGuide:  “13 spp. in our area” and “Identification of species is challenging.”

Eastern Shieldback Katydid

Letter 42 – Ecuadorean Tettigoniidid

 

Ecuadorean saddle back cricket??
Hi Daniel:
Found this cricket in our garden while removing a dead leaf base from a vetchia palm. Looked in your web site and looks like the saddle bag bush cricket or weta. I think I have seen it before in our lawn, coming out from holes in the ground. I would appreaciate any information on it. Hope you enjoy the pictures.
Erika Schwarz Wilson
Istana, Barbasquillo
Manta- Ecuador

Hi again Erika,
Nice to hear from you again. You have a member of the Family Tettigoniidae which contains Long-Horned Grasshoppers and Katydids as well as the Shield-Back and Bush Katydids which are sometimes called Crickets. Sorry I can’t identify your exact species. Your example is a female recognizeable by her flat, swordlike ovipositor, her egg laying organ.

Letter 43 – Endemic Bush Cricket from Lesvos

 

Subject: Unknown bug
Location: Lesvos
November 20, 2014 5:38 am
I found this bug in Lesvos in the Greek islands last April and would appreciate if you could identify it.
Many thanks for your help. I have been asked to do a talk on Lesvos for my local RSPB group and would appreciate your assistance, regards
Signature: William Smiton

Katydid
Bush Cricket

Dear William,
This is a Katydid or Bush Cricket in the family Tettigoniidae, and we quickly identified it on PBase as
Poecilimon mytelensis, a species endemic to Lesvos.  An endemic species is native to a limited area, and islands that are isolated often have endemic species that have taken their own evolutionary path due to a limited gene pool.  The Flora and Fauna of Cyprus site also indicates this species is endemic to Lesvos.  The spikelike ovipositor indicates that your individual is a female.

Letter 44 – Female American Shieldback

 

Subject: Friendly Crickets?
Location: Northeast Georgia
October 8, 2016 9:44 am
Recently, I’ve been making a few Cricket friends, including Katydids every once in a while. My wife has been fascinated how they seem to love to land on me on our porch, and then even follow me inside and sit next to me at my desk. Friendly little buggers… I just calmly talk to them and even handle them when they show up. I even feed and give them water, which they love.
Attached is photo of my newest friend I made last night, landing on my leg and riding inside with me. So he is still here this morning, after he walked all over my office thoughout the night, I picked him up again and put him in the open window. He’s still not going anywhere. lol, drinking his water now.
So I wanted to ask what insight you may have for this behavior? I’ve heard they actually keep them as pets in China? Also, what kind of cricket is this anyway? (He’s the second one that has come to hang out with me)
Also, a katydid that wouldn’t leave my kitchen after I fed him last month, would actually sing to me when I walked in. I’m serious, was wonderful, and he was great.
Signature: Frog

American Shieldback
American Shieldback

Dear Frog,
This is a female American Shieldback,
Atlanticus americanus, a species of Katydid, and the swordlike ovipositor is the feature that identifies her as female.  We verified her identification on BugGuide and according to BugGuide, she is a:  “Predator and scavenger of other insects, but will also feed on live vegetation.”  Insects spend a great percentage of their lives seeking sustenance and water, and though we do not want to downplay your unique relationship with Katydids, when a hungry insect is presented with food, it will eat.  We suspect your own sensitivity to the creatures around you is more of a factor than any overt attraction to you directly, as an individual, by the Katydids.  Once we become aware of the subtle things around us, we notice them more.  We suspect you are more observant, and open-minded than the average person who might encounter a Katydid.

American Shieldback
American Shieldback

You are awesome, and thank you. 😉
In hopes that many more join this state of mind / being.
Your friend,
Frog

Letter 45 – Female Bush Katydid at Hummingbird Feeder

 

Green Bug on my Hummingbird Feeder
Location: SE Wisconsin
October 8, 2011 4:00 pm
This bug showed up on my hummingbird feeder and was there for several minutes. When I got closer with the camera, it moved around and then when I turned around, it disappeared. What is this bug?
Signature: Puzzled

Katydid

Dear Puzzled,
You can tell that this Bush Katydid is a female because of sickle shaped ovipositor at the end of her abdomen.

Letter 46 – Female Common True Katydid

 

Subject: Katydid or Katy didn’t!
Location: Panhandle of Florida
July 1, 2013 8:16 pm
I saw this on a pool chair in the backyard and thought it was a run of the mill katydid, but it was more solid than the usual ones I’ve encountered before and it had this big ”stinger”. After a little research, I think it is, after all, a run of the mill katydid, and the ”stinger” is an appendage to inject eggs into plants and/or tree bark. Am I correct? Jeff
(FYI – I love the face shot!)
Signature: Jeff in the panhandle of Florida

Common True Katydid
Common True Katydid

Hi Jeff,
Thanks for sending us your photos of a female Common True Katydid,
Pterophylla camellifolia, which we matched to a photo posted to BugGuide.  Just because the word common is part of its name does not make her a “run of the mill katydid.”  We get far more images of Bush Katydids in the genus Scudderia than we do of Common True Katydids.

Common True Katydid
Common True Katydid

Letter 47 – Female Common True Katydid

 

Subject: What could this be
Location: Ohio
August 13, 2015 7:33 pm
I’ve tried to find a similar one online but can’t, if you zoom in you can see a large stinger in the back and it hissed and attacked a rock on the ground.
Signature: Gw

Female Common True Katydid
Female Common True Katydid

Dear GW,
This is a female Common True Katydid, and what you have mistaken for a stinger is actually an organ known as the ovipositor that enables the female to lay her eggs.

Letter 48 – Female Common True Katydid

 

Subject:  Katydid Eating It’s Tail?
Geographic location of the bug:  Atlanta, Georgia
Date: 07/30/2019
Time: 11:29 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  One more! This katydid has been hanging out on my front porch for 2 days now. I went outside about 11pm and it appeared to be eating its tail. I took a video as I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Do katydids self-cannibolize?
How you want your letter signed:  Chel

Female Common True Katydid

Dear Chel,
Based on this BugGuide image, we are confident this is a female Common True Katydid, and what you are calling its tail is actually an ovipositor, and organ the female uses when laying eggs.  The position your Katydid is in indicates she might be trying to lay eggs, based on this image of a Costa Rican Katydid and this image of a Katydid laying eggs in captivity, both from our archives.  Your individual might have been grooming her ovipositor, which appeared to you to be autocannibalism.

Female Common True Katydid

Letter 49 – Female Florida Conehead

 

WHOA! Weird bug!
Hey Bugman! I live in Tampa, Florida. The other day I was in my backyard the other day at night with some friends. Suddenly my friend screams and yells that something smacked her face! I shined the light on her face and suddenly I realized that there was this bug just chilling on the side of her face! Of course, me being the animal and bug lover I am, I snatch it off her face before she smooshed it and took a quick picture of it to send to you. I looked in my florida wildlife book and didnt see anything that looked like this. Can you identify it? P.S. It was safely released and flew away. Thanks!
Cammy P.

Hi Cammy,
This appears to be a female Common Conehead, probably in the genus Neoconocephalus as evidenced by images on BugGuide, though females with their swordlike ovipositors are underrepresented on the site.

Update: (07/03/2008) Katydid IDs from Piotr Naskrecki
Hi,
I have been looking at the page with unidentified katydids (Katydids 2), and thought I could help with some ID’s. From top to bottom they are: Florida conehead – Bucrates malivolans

Letter 50 – Female Conehead

 

Walking stick ID please
Hello,
I was wondering what type of walking stick this may be. It does not look like the typical two-striped ones I usually see here in Vero Beach, FL. Thanks!
Scott Walker
Vero Beach, Fl

Hi Scott,
We believe this is an immature female Neoconocephalus triops, Broad-tipped Conehead, a type of Katydid. There are many photos of adults on BugGuide. We are requesting assistance from Eric Eaton. Eric quickly responded, and we were in the ballpark, but with the wrong genus. Here is Eric’s response: “Hi: That’s much better with the image:-) It is an adult female conehead in the genus Belocephalus, something unique to Florida I imagine. Eric ” There are some images on BugGuide.

Update: (07/03/2008) Katydid IDs from Piotr Naskrecki
Hi,
I have been looking at the page with unidentified katydids (Katydids 2), and thought I could help with some ID’s. From top to bottom they are: Florida conehead – Belocephalus (most likely B. sabalis)

Letter 51 – Female Conehead Katydid

 

Subject: New Castle Unknown
Location: New Castle, PA
September 12, 2013 6:09 pm
Found this guy hanging on the outside wall of out office about 11:15 9/12/13. Body length I would estimate at 2.5 inches. Would like to know what this is and if native or not. Can’t say I have ever seen one in this area.
Signature: Paul Meahl

Female Conehead Katydid
Female Conehead Katydid

Hi Paul,
This appears to be a Conehead Katydid in the tribe Copiphorini, which you can view on BugGuide, however, we are not certain of the species, though we suspect it might be a Broad-Tipped Conehead,
Neoconocephalus triops.  Coneheads are native.  Your individual is a female, as evidenced by the swordlike ovipositor at the tip of her abdomen.  We will try to contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can provide a species name for us.

Letter 52 – Female Conehead Katydid, we believe

 

Subject: Interesting Green bug
Location: Central Arkansas
June 8, 2014 8:35 pm
Hello, this bug was on my car this weekend and I’ve never seen one like him. It was a hot day and I was parked at a soccer field next to a wooded area. Can you please help to identify him, more for my curiosity than anything.
Thanks!
Signature: Tammy

Female Conehead Katydid
Female Conehead Katydid

Dear Tammy,
This is a Katydid, and she is a female based on her ovipositor, but we are having some difficulty narrowing to a genus and species.  The closest match we can find is a Conehead Katydid in the genus
Belocephalus, however, BugGuide only lists sightings from Florida.  In the past, Piotr Naskrecki has indicated there are thirteen species, but we don’t know if they range as far west as Arkansas, so we have contacted him for his input.

Conehead Katydid
Conehead Katydid

Letter 53 – Female Drumming Katydid

 

Female Drumming Katydid (Vancouver)
Dear Bug-folks,
I’d like to share a couple of photos of what I am pretty sure is a female Drumming Katydid. Last summer, just days after you had posted the one mentioning how strange it was to find such a species in Western Canada, we found one of the little guys (male) walking across the livingroom carpet. We caught him in hopes of getting a pic and confirming the previous find, but alas, I couldn’t find my camera and had to let him go with no evidence (but what a cute little guy!). I wrote in to tell you about the incident, but I know you prioritize emails with attached photos, so you may not have seen it. Well here was another one a few nights ago, and this time was able to capture a few snaps. I know that it is no big news anymore — it is well known now that they have established a home here — but I thought you might like to add these images to the site since you don’t have any of a female. Warmest regards,
Shannon
Vancouver, BC

Hi Shannon,
Thank you for thinking of our site and our readership by thoughtfully sending us your wonderful image of a female Drumming Katydid, Meconema thalassinum. One can’t help but wonder if their northern range expansion might be related to global warming.

Update: (07/03/2008) Katydid IDs from Piotr Naskrecki
Hi,
I have been looking at the page with unidentified katydids (Katydids 2), and thought I could help with some ID’s. From top to bottom they are: Meconema thalssinum

Letter 54 – Female Drumming Katydid

 

Subject: What is this?
Location: Seattle, WA
November 13, 2016 4:14 pm
Hi, Bugman!
I found this pretty little lady on my front porch last night and would love to know what she is? I’m in Seattle, and it has been really warm recently (a lot warmer than most Novembers!). I’ve never seen a bug this precious here before! No wings, was a great jumper, and seemed very alert but also pretty calm. Very nice bug! What is she? Thanks!
Signature: Shiv

Female Drumming Katydid
Female Drumming Katydid

Dear Shiv,
This female Drumming Katydid,
Meconema thalassinum, is not a native species to Seattle.  It was introduced from Europe and is now well established in the Pacific Northwest.

Thank you so much for being able to find out what it is! I really appreciate your time and the identification, thank you! Have a great day!

Letter 55 – Female Eastern Shieldback

 

Subject: Grasshopper?
Location: Southern Indiana
July 16, 2014 7:47 am
This bug was found in southern Indiana in July, 2014, in a lightly wooded area among dry grass and leaves. My grandson captured in and put it in his bug box, then after admiring it for a while we released it. This photo was taken on our back steps just before the bug jumped off and disappeared. We have search several web sites but have been unable to find a match.
I took this picture with my iPad.
Signature: Curious Grandmother

Female Eastern Shieldback
Female Eastern Shieldback

Dear Curious Grandmother,
This is a Shield-Back Katydid, and research on BugGuide indicates it is a female Eastern Shieldback in the genus
Atlanticus.  According to BugGuide:  “Identification of species is challenging” and they are found in “Dry deciduous and mixed woodlands: on ground and in low vegetation.”  What appears to be a stinger is actually the ovipositor, the organ used by the female to lay eggs.

Letter 56 – Female Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid Nymph

 

Subject: Green Cricket
Location: San Marcos, CA
July 7, 2016 11:00 am
Hi Bugman! This is the second time I’ve seen one of these green cricket-looking bugs with the leaf-like “tail” in my garden and I was wondering what it was. I found this guy hanging out on my fennel flowers last night (7/6/16) and he was still there this morning just…blending in. What’s that bug?
Signature: Megan

Female Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid Nymph
Female Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid Nymph

Dear Megan,
This is a female (as evidenced by her ovipositor), immature (as evidenced by the partially developed wings) Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid.  We believe she is a member of the species Scudderia mexicana based on this BugGuide image, though species can be difficult to distinguish from one another without carefully inspecting the genitalia.  According to BugGuide:  “To identify species within this genus, it is important to see the ‘terminalia’ (parts at the end of the abdomen). The shapes of the parts of both the males and females can be very useful for identification, and often are the only means to reliably tell species apart. In males it is useful (often necessary) to see these parts from both the side and from above, with the shapes of the supra-anal plate and the subgenital plate being important for diagnosis. The shape of the wings is also useful for some species. Also, the color pattern of living specimens can be of use, but is rarely diagnostic.”

Letter 57 – Female Giant Predatory Katydid from Turkey: Saga natoliae

 

Subject:  Spotted in Turkey
Geographic location of the bug:  Near Mugla, in a forest about 700m above sea level
Date: 07/16/2018
Time: 04:26 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  No idea what this is, and whether it is dangerous. It is approximately 10cm in length
How you want your letter signed:  Gordon

Female Giant Predatory Katydid: Saga natoliae

Dear Gordon,
This is one very impressive Katydid, and the ovipositor indicates it is a female.  Katydids are not considered dangerous, but large individuals might have powerful mandibles that could draw blood if a person tried to handle one carelessly.  We quickly located this eBay image identified as
Saga natoliae that has a $202.50 price tag for its purchase.  According to Pyrgus Orthoptera and their Ecology:  “Saga natoliae is locally endangered by agricultural intensification, overbuilding (urban sprawl, industry, traffic). No roads should be constructed through its habitats!” and “The impressing species (largest European Saltatoria) occurs from the Balkan Peninsula (Greece, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey) across Asia Minor to Caucasia and the Near East.”  Nature Photo calls this the Balkan Sawing Cricket.  According to a comment on TrekNature:  “It is attacking me with all of its 10 cm length! The magnificent creature prefers crickets and lizards though. It presses a lizard to its mighty spines on the thorax and then saws it in two with its mandibles. You find the animal in the Balkans and in Turkey.”

Dear Daniel
Thank you so much, fascinating
Regards
Gordon

Letter 58 – Female Greater Angle Winged Katydid

 

Subject:  katydid?
Geographic location of the bug:  Fort Mill, SC
Date: 08/20/2018
Time: 02:52 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This big one was hanging out on my back door this morning.  In one of the photos you can see his really long antennae. Do you happen to know the proper species name of this one? Amazing how it looks so very similar to a leaf!
How you want your letter signed:  R. Tregay

Greater Angle-Winged Katydid

Dear R. Tregay,
This looks to us like a female Greater Angle Winged Katydid,
Microcentrum rhombifolium, which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults active in late summer and fall. September-November (Michigan).”

Letter 59 – Copiphora hastata: Conehead Katydid from Costa Rica

 

Subject: Spear bearer
Location: Costa Rica
May 19, 2013 2:36 pm
We saw different of these insects. Are these females of Cophiphora?
Signature: fred from belgium

Katydid
Conehead Katydid

Hi Fred,
We will contact Piotr Naskrecki to get assistance with this female Katydid from Costa Rica.  The “cone” on the head does seem to be consistant with Cophiphora photos online, including these on National Geographic Stock and on FlickR.

Conehead Katydid
Conehead Katydid

Piotr Naskrecki discovers new species of Katydid in Costa Rica:  Copiphora hastata
Hi Daniel,
This is actually one of the species that I discovered and described, Copiphora hastata. These wonderful animals use their long ovipositor to lay eggs among dead leaf fronds at the base of palm trees.
Cheers,
Piotr

 

Letter 60 – Conehead Katydid from Africa

 

long horn Grasshopper
Wed, Mar 11, 2009 at 6:10 AM
Hi all,
i found this Grasshopper in Guinea (west-africa). Ist about 5cm long an have a strange spkie an his Head.
Maybe its Acrida spec.?
Guinea found
Guinea, West africa

Conehead Katydid
Conehead Katydid

Dear Guinea found,
Grasshoppers in the genus Acrida are known as the Slant Faced Grasshoppers, and they are members of the Orthoptera suborder Caelifera, the true Grasshoppers with short antennae. Acrididae is the predominant family of Short Horned Grasshoppers. Horned in this case refers to the antennae. Your insects is a Long Horned Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera, and the family Tettigoniidae, the Katydids. Though the spined head is more extreme than North American species, we would say that your Katydid is a Conehead Katydid in the subfamily Conocephalinae. You can find images of North American species on BugGuide. We will contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he recognizes your specimen.

Conehead Katydid
Conehead Katydid

Update:
Hi Daniel,
Somebody has already sent me a picture of this katydid, but not one with the
view of its face. Now that I can see the exact shape of the fastigium and
the marking on the face there is no doubt that this is a female of
Pseudorhynchus pungens Schaum, a fairly common, nearly pan-African species.Cheers,
Piotr
Piotr Naskrecki, Ph. D.
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

Update: Sat, Mar 14, 2009 at 2:43 PM
Hi,
thanks for your detailed and fast answer!
I had founded the exact name of the species, its Pseudorhynchus cf lanceolata or pungens.
But again, thanks a lot for your strive!
Greetings from Germany
Chris

Letter 61 – Conehead from Pakistan

 

A very pretty pink insect
Location: Lahore, Pakistan
November 28, 2010 12:08 pm
Hi
I recently saw this insect on a window sill sitting perfectly still. I have never seen something like this before. Can you please help me identify this?
Thanks
Signature: Mansoor

Pink Conehead from Pakistan

Dear Mansoor,
We believe this is a Conehead in the Katydid tribe Copiphorini, commonly called the Coneheads (See BugGuide).  The pink coloration may be an anomaly.  Often typically green Katydids exhibit this pink coloration, but it is not common.  We will contact a Katydid expert, Piotr Naskrecki, to see if he is able to provide a species identification.

Hi Daniel,
I cannot tell for sure from this photo, but it is a female of either Ruspolia sp. or Pseudorhynchus sp. (Conocephalinae).
Cheers,
Piotr

Thanks Piotr,
Is pink the typical color, or is it an anomaly like in certain North American species?
Daniel

Hi Daniel,
It is not an anomaly in this katydid, and it is not an anomaly in North American species either. Pink color morphs are common in katydids, although more so in some species than others (especially in Phaneropterinae and Conocehalinae), and of course there are groups that do not have pink morphs at all. The fact that pink katydids are not seen often is only testament to the effectiveness of this cryptic coloration.
Cheers,
Piotr

Letter 62 – Conehead Katydid from Madagascar: Colossopus grandidieri

 

Subject: Cricket, Madagascar
Location: Ifaty, Madagascar
September 20, 2014 2:53 am
Another cricket from Ifaty in south west Madagascar – any ideas for id?
Signature: Niall Corbet

Ensiferan
Conehead Katydid:  Colossopus grandidieri

Hi Niall,
We believe this Ensiferan or Longhorned Orthopteran is a type of Katydid.  We are contacting Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki regarding both of your submissions.  The red eyes and blue legs are quite distinctive.

Katydid possibly
Conehead Katydid

Karl Provides Identification:  September 23, 2014
Hi Daniel and Niall:
It looks like the Conehead Katydid (Tettigoniidae: Conocephalinae), Colossopus grandidieri. The species is wingless but the dark coloration suggests that it is likely and adult. There really isn’t very much information available online for this species; what there is has been posted mostly by German breeders. The common name may be Giant Cricket or Tiger Cricket, both erroneous since it is not a cricket, and it is endemic to Madagascar, perhaps only the southern part of the island. The literature for C. grandidieri is very sparse and there seems to be some confusion or ambiguity between this and a related species, Oncodopus zonatus. Based on what I could find on both species I would go with C. grandidieri. Regards. Karl

Thanks so much Karl.  We are surprised that such a gorgeous Conehead Katydid is not better documented.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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21 thoughts on “Do Katydids Eat Plants? Unveiling Gardeners’ Dilemma”

  1. Full agreement with Dave! These guys are quite tasty, and they’re not as tough-shelled as lots of other hopper-type critters. Katydids and long-horned grasshoppers are quite similar in texture and taste. They’re favorites of mine, along with camel and field crickets.

    Reply
  2. There are tonnes of these now. I’m in Burnaby, just outside Vancouver, and we’ve seen dozens and dozens of these this year, from 1/8″ long to 1.25″ long (not including their antennae, which are just over twice their body length).
    All through July and up until the second week of August, constantly finding them in our highrise 17 floors up, and friends all around the GVRD finding them in their homes.
    Just as suddenly as they showed up, they are gone. Seen many in the last few years, but never as many as this year. A bright near-neon green, they’ve looked exactly the same as the pic on this page – thin body, not as thick/leaf-like as most of the katydid pictures I’ve seen.

    Reply
  3. There are tonnes of these now. I’m in Burnaby, just outside Vancouver, and we’ve seen dozens and dozens of these this year, from 1/8″ long to 1.25″ long (not including their antennae, which are just over twice their body length).
    All through July and up until the second week of August, constantly finding them in our highrise 17 floors up, and friends all around the GVRD finding them in their homes.
    Just as suddenly as they showed up, they are gone. Seen many in the last few years, but never as many as this year. A bright near-neon green, they’ve looked exactly the same as the pic on this page – thin body, not as thick/leaf-like as most of the katydid pictures I’ve seen.

    Reply
  4. I just found one of these in southwest Michigan! Glad to have found this posting. Nothing else in my research looked quite like what I’d found.

    Reply
  5. This bright green chub insect landed on my lap, sat there while I took a pic, then turned and looked directly on me so I could take a front view as I said ‘smile’ lol. I have no idea what it is, never saw one in my life.. Had physical structure and shape of a large lady bug but features of a grasshopper..but a stubby one lol I think it was a drumming katydid but it was more round and more of a chub look. Wish I could post a pic..curious to know what it was .

    Reply
  6. We have had at least 6 of these in our house. One landed in my husband’s hair last night, and this morning I found one on the floor. I have no idea why they are in my house or how they are getting into the house. But it is defiantly what is pictured above. I have it in a clear container and used a magnifying glass–I do not have the ability to do a close up picture. I am in the Lower Mainland.

    Reply
  7. Hello again from beautiful Vancouver, BC! I submitted the original sighting & ID question and I thought I’d add a quick (albeit belated) update for anyone who’s interested.
    So I *did* report the katydid sightings to the authorities and was referred to Dr Robert Cannings, a gov scientist & (at the time) Curator of Entomology at the Royal BC Museum. He confirmed that I did indeed have a little returning population of Drumming Katydids in my front yard AND that a few individual katydids had also been sighted in the Lower Mainland by other people. That eventually led to the publication of an academic article about the species’ range expansion into BC (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237476552_Meconema_thalassinum_Orthoptera_Tettigoniidae_a_foreign_katydid_established_in_British_Columbia).

    So now it’s 2021 and, 16yrs after I spotted those three courting katydids, there is still a very happy population of them around my house. They always appear above my doorway in the first week of August and, true to form, it’s Aug 11th & there are three eager males up there waiting for a female to arrive.

    It seems these little green aliens are here to stay ????

    Reply

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