Katydids are fascinating insects belonging to the order Orthoptera, closely related to crickets and grasshoppers. There are approximately 6,400 species of katydids found worldwide, known for their distinct long antennae and vertically positioned wings that resemble leaves source. These insects can be found in various habitats, including forests, parks, and yards.
Known for their leaf-like appearance, katydids are typically green in color, although some species may exhibit pink, yellow, orange, or tan hues. Their unique physical adaptations help them to camouflage effectively among foliage in the wild source. Katydids are also known for their intriguing acoustic communication, as males produce mating calls to attract females using specialized structures called stridulatory organs.
In this article, we will delve into the world of katydids, exploring their diverse morphology, intriguing behavior, and the various species found across the globe. Whether you are new to the subject or an avid entomologist, this guide will provide valuable information and insights into these captivating creatures.
What Are Katydids
Katydids are insects belonging to the family Tettigoniidae. They are close relatives of grasshoppers and crickets, found in various parts of North America1.
Long antennae: Katydids have thin antennae that are as long or longer than their body2. Their antennae are covered with sensory receptors that help them navigate in the dark, as they are primarily nocturnal creatures2.
Varied size: Depending on the species, katydids can range from ½ to 4 inches long2.
|Body Size||½ to 4 inches2||Varies||Smaller|
In summary, katydids are fascinating nocturnal insects with long antennae, varied sizes, and colors, and are close relatives to grasshoppers and crickets1. Their unique physical characteristics help them adapt to their environment and distinguish them from their relatives.
Katydid Behavior and Habitat
Camouflage and Protection
Katydids are known for their green color, which helps them blend in with foliage. Their wings resemble leaves, providing excellent camouflage in their natural environment.
- Green color: Mimics the appearance of leaves.
- Leaf-like wings: Adds to the effectiveness of their camouflage.
Katydids mainly feed on plants, consuming leaves and stems, as well as fruit. Certain species may also prey on other insects for food.
- Plant-based diet: Leaves, stems, and fruit are consumed.
- Occasional carnivore: Some species eat other insects.
- Active mainly at night: Adapted for nocturnal activities.
- Long antennae: Aid in navigation and communication.
The life cycle of katydids involves a series of developmental stages, starting with eggs laid by the female and transitioning through several nymph stages before reaching adulthood. The process typically occurs during the warmer months of summer and fall, as temperature is an important factor for development.
- Eggs: Laid on plants, often in protected areas.
- Nymph stages: Juveniles undergo multiple molts, gradually resembling adults.
- Season: Development occurs during summer and fall, driven by warmer temperatures.
|Eggs||Small, protected on plants||Spring or early summer||Leaves or stems of plants|
|Nymph||Smaller, wingless version of adults||Summer and fall||Same as adults, on plants|
|Adult||Green, leaf-like wings||Late summer to fall||Trees, shrubs, and grassy areas|
Pros and Cons of being a Katydid
|Nocturnal||Vulnerable during daytime|
|Long antennae||Temperature dependent life cycle|
Katydid Natural Predators
Bats and birds are two of the main predators of katydids. Bats hunt by echolocation and feed on katydids that fly at night. Birds, like flycatchers and tanagers, catch katydids during the day.
Spiders also prey on katydids, using their webs to capture them. Some examples of spider predators include orb-weaver spiders and jumping spiders.
Rodents such as rats and mice will eat katydids when they are available. They tend to search for insects on the ground or in vegetation.
Beyond these main predators, katydids also face threats from various other animals, like frogs, lizards, and larger insects. However, katydids are known for their camouflage abilities, which helps them avoid detection.
Here are some features of katydid predators:
- Bats use echolocation to locate flying katydids at night
- Birds visually hunt for katydids during the day
- Spiders capture katydids in their webs
- Rodents forage on the ground or in vegetation for insects like katydids
Katydid as Pests and Garden Dwellers
Katydids are insects belonging to the order Orthoptera and are related to grasshoppers and crickets. These creatures are excellent at camouflage, often resembling leaves or other plant parts, making it hard to detect their presence in gardens 1.
Common Garden Plants They Consume
Katydids are known to consume a variety of plants, including some common garden flora. Here are a few examples of plants they may eat:
- Flax Lilies
- Citrus trees
It’s important to keep an eye on these plants for signs of damage from katydids.
While katydids can be considered pests, there are natural ways to deter them from your garden without causing harm:
Lavender: Planting lavender around your garden can dissuade katydids from settling in the area.
Garlic: In addition to their culinary uses, garlic plants can help repel katydids and other insects.
Moreover, attracting beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and praying mantises, can help keep katydids under control by keeping their populations in check.
Keeping Katydids as Pets
- Size: Katydids are generally small insects, with some species measuring between ½ to 4 inches long. A small to medium-sized terrarium should suffice.
- Temperature: Maintain a temperature between 70-80°F for your katydid’s comfort.
- Foliage: Add plants, branches, and leaf litter to mimic their natural habitat and provide hiding spots.
Feeding and Care
- Diet: Katydids primarily feed on leaves, fruits and flowers. They might also consume insects occasionally.
- Water: Provide a shallow dish with fresh water or mist the enclosure daily to maintain humidity.
Katydids are relatively harmless pets, but there are some risks to consider:
- Escape: Due to their size and ability to camouflage, they may be difficult to find if they escape from their enclosure.
- Bites: While not poisonous, larger species of katydids may be able to bite, causing minor discomfort.
- Lifespan: Keep in mind, these insects generally have a short lifespan of 1-2 years.
Being aware of these factors will allow you to better care for your pet katydid and ensure a positive experience.
Cultural and Spiritual Significance
In Chinese culture, the katydid represents good fortune and growth. The gentle insect is believed to be an auspicious symbol for success and happiness. Its ability to deter smaller insects without causing harm demonstrates a level of courage and resilience, which are qualities people admire.
Katydids are mentioned in the Bible as a part of the great diversity of God’s creation. Although their spiritual meaning in the text is subjective, some individuals associate katydids with peace, harmony, and a connection with nature.
Good Luck and Fortune
Some cultures associate katydids with good luck, success, and change, believing their presence to be a sign of blessings.
|Chinese||Good fortune, growth, success, happiness|
|North American||Luck, positive change|
|Amazon Rainforest||Spiritual connection, harmony|
- Characteristics of katydids:
- Gentle insects
- Do not bite
- Deter smaller insects
The cultural and spiritual significance of katydids across different regions, such as North America, the Amazon Rainforest, and Chinese culture, highlights the diversity of the insect’s impact on human lives. Overall, they represent positive, uplifting themes that inspire personal growth, good fortune, and a connection with nature.
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 – Red Eyed Devil eats Gecko
Subject: (Warning: Graphic Photos) Neobarrettia spinosa eating a gecko
Location: Canyon Lake, TX
June 22, 2012 1:12 am
I have to warn you. These pictures are gruesome.
Earlier this evening, there was a Red Eyed Devil sitting on the blade of our patio fan. Not wanting it to drop down on us and attack, we turned the fan on, hoping that would dislodge it. After turning it on high speed for about a minute, the thing finally lost its grip and hit a window at probably over 100 mph. The thing acted disoriented for a minute or so, then crawled onto our sliding door.
I saw one of these a couple of weeks ago ferociously eating moths on a window, which was fairly terrifying, considering how fast and powerful the insect was. This one was not interested in moths, though. It disappeared into the frame of our sliding door and came back with the back half of a very large cricket, which it then finished devouring. I came back to check on it later, and that’s when I took these photos. I didn’t see the attack, but I think the gecko was alive, since its foot appeared to be trying to grip the edge of the screen door. It looks like the katydid gave up on trying to eat the head, now, and has moved on to the gecko’s belly.
For scale, the katydid’s body is about 2 inches.
I think I’m going to have nightmares about this.
We generally don’t think of insects and arachnids being able to eat vertebrates, so the photos are always a bit shocking. Though gruesome, your photos are a welcome addition to our Food Chain tag. Folks should be warned to handle Red Eyed Devils with caution as they are capable of biting humans and drawing blood, however, they do not attack without provocation. Some other chilling arthropod eating vertebrates images on our website include this Giant Crab Spider eating a Gecko, Golden Orbweaver eating a Hummingbird, a Preying Mantis feeding on a Hummingbird, a Preying Mantis eating a Mouse, a Preying Mantis eating a Tree Frog, an Australian Redback Spider eating a Lizard, a House Spider eating a Skink, a Fishing Spider eating a Lizard, a Fishing Spider eating a Tree Frog and this House Centipede eating a Mouse. Thanks again for adding to our unusual documentation of insects and spiders eating vertebrates.
Letter 2 – Two South African Orthopterans: a Parktown Prawn and a Shieldback Katydid
Possible wheat cricket?
Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 11:36 PM
I was taught as a kid that a “koringkriek” (corn cricket) is the redish creature attached as per image 1.
I, however found the creature as per image 2 & 3 and when I asked friends and family, some of them was of the opinion that the latter is indeed a koringkriek.
Kindly advise which one of these, if any, is indeed a corn cricket and if not, what are they?
Kempton Park Gauteng
Apparently our knowledge of world geography is quite lacking as we needed to first research where Gauteng is located. Now we know it is in South Africa. The identification requests may take a bit of time, and we want to post your images before we do any actual research as we need to leave for work shortly. We are hoping our readership (Hi there Karl) may be able to assist us on this. Both of your insects are Orthopterans, an insect order that contains grasshoppers and crickets, and in the in the suborder Ensifera, the Long Horned Orthopterans with long antennae. Many Orthopterans have common names that include the word cricket, but they are not real crickets, like the North American Jerusalem Cricket. South Africa has some Wetas, also found in Australia and the closest relatives to the Jerusalem Crickets of the American Southwest in the family Stenopelmatidae, but we are not certain your examples are Wetas. They may also be ShieldBack Katydids in the subfamily Tettigoniinae. Some of these are also called crickets like the Mormon Cricket of Utah.
When we googled “koringkriek”, we found an image identical to your second image and the scientific name Eugaster longipes, except your example is male and the other female.
Update from Eric Eaton:
I believe that the first of the two images of South African orthopterans is a female “Parktown Prawn,” Libanasidus vittatus (Kirby), a member of the family Anostostomatidae (formerly part of the Stenopelmatidae). At the very least, the image must be in that genus (Libanasidus). They are apparently common in Johannesburg.
Your identification of the second image appears correct (it is a shield-backed katydid unrelated to the Parktown prawn).
Thank you so much for the prompt response.
My apology, I did not pay attention and thought that it was a local website, which would also explain my use of the Afrikaans word “koringkriek”
Afrikaans is one of our official languages and my mothertongue.
My apology for the confusion; at least something good came from it in that you now know more about South Africa.
No Problem Marsel,
Thanks to the World Wide Web, everything is local.
Update: Sun, Jan 11, 2009
Oh, the wacky world of South African Orthoptera! The first photo appears to be of a King Cricket (Libanasidus vittatus), most commonly referred to as the “Parktown Prawn”. Google any of those names and you will get lots of photos and reams of articles. I have included two links below. It is in the family Anostostomatidae, which also includes the Weta. This harmless creature seems to get an awful lot of bad press in South Africa, especially considering that it feeds mostly on slugs, snails and cutworms. The second photo looks like it is probably a Corn Cricket, but that name and Armoured Corn Cricket are associated with a number of scientific names (including Eugaster longipes, as you mentioned). I even found several sites claiming the scientific name Cantankerous fella; the photos looked close but I couldn’t verify the validity of that name to my satisfaction. The Field Guide to Insects of Southern Africa lists 4 species of Armoured Ground Crickets (family Bradyporidae) in 3 different genera, all with the common names corn cricket and koringkriek. I am inclined to go with Enyaliopsis sp. (link below – I couldn’t nail down a species). Regards.
Letter 3 – Shield-backed Katydid from Namibia
Location: Namibia (see above)
November 15, 2011 12:44 pm
Can you please name these.All pictures were taken in April 2011 in Namibia.
The cricket was taken in the Etendeke Mountain camp close to Palmwag. The other 2 images were taken at Durstenbruck farm north of Windhoek.
Signature: Roger Pinkney
We are finally getting around to your third identification request after having posted your Banded-Legged Golden Orb-Web Spider and your Tropical Centipede, and we haven’t heard back from you, though perhaps internet connectivity is not easy to find in Namibia. All of your photos are quite nice. The creature you refer to as a cricket is actually a Shield-Backed Katydid in the subfamily Tettigoniinae. We are going to write to Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki from Harvard to see if he can provide a species identification for you.
Letter 4 – Scudder's Bush Katydid Nymph
What is this?
Location: Santa Barbara, California
April 30, 2011 8:38 pm
This insect was on a poppy in my garden in Santa Barbara, California, USA. Do you know what it is?
This is a very young nymph of one of the Bush Katydids in the genus Scudderia, most likely the Fork Tailed Bush Katydid, Scudderia furcata. You can compare your image to this photo from BugGuide. The striped antennae of the nymphs are quite distinctive and adults are green, well camouflaged insects that resemble Grasshoppers but with long antennae. General information on the genus can be found on bugGuide. Katydids feed on foliage and flowers, but they are generally not plentiful enough to do major damage. In our own Southern California garden, adults have a fondness for eating the petals on red roses, and we tolerate this since one of the reasons we plant flowers is to attract insects.
Letter 5 – Shieldback Katydid from Greece
remarkable big insect
May 25, 2010
spring photo in a little village near the sea
what is this???
We believe this is a Shieldback Katydid in the subfamily Tettigoniinae. We will contact an expert in Orthopterans, Piotr Naskrecki, to see if he is able to provide a species name or correction.
Piotr Naskrecki provides an answer
This beauty is called Callimenus macrogaster (Tettigoniidae: Bradyporinae.) Whether it is a shield-back is still a matter of discussion, although recent molecular data indicate that Bradyporinae may indeed by closely related to shield-backs (Tettigoniinae.) This species has an interesting defense mechanism, and if perturbed squirts hemolymph at its attacker.
Letter 6 – Saddle-Back Katydid from Croatia
Grasshopper looking bug with “eye” on the back
Location: Croatia, Dalmatia, Adriatic Coast, Biokovo Mountains
October 4, 2010 11:10 am
This big fella and his friends were spotted (rather frequently) during a hike in the Dinaric alps around 1000 m above sea level in Dalmatia, Croatia (Biokovo National Park, next to the Adriatic sea) in early September. The bug was ca 5 cm long and looked like a grasshopper. Is it a grasshopper that comes in a fancier outfit than the grasshoppers we see at home maybe? We were very fascinated by this little creature but haven’t been able to find out what bug it actually is. Please help us!
Dear Szabolcs & Susanna,
This is a Longhorned Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera, probably a Shieldback Katydid in the subfamily Tettigoniinae. The long ovipositor indicates she is a female. We will search for a species name and attempt to contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki for his expertise.
Thank you for your quick answer! We’re looking forward to possibly getting to know more!
This is a Saddle-back katydid (Ephippiger discoidalis). Normally this species is green, but at higher elevations you often find dark-colored forms of this (and other Ephippiger) species. Ephippiger is a really interesting genus, not only because males produce enormous nuptial gift in the form of a very large spermatophylax, but also because females in this group have evolved a unique stridulatory apparatus, and are capable of singing as well as the males (but do so only rarely).
Letter 7 – Roadkill: Katydid from New Caledonia
Subject: Giant lovely emerald katydid?
Location: Noumea, New Caledonia
December 23, 2014 6:50 am
Hi guys! I found this katydid(?) in a parking lot in New Caledonia in ~February 2013. It had been flattened by cars but was still impressively large and green. Friends there called it a coconut cricket. Any idea what it is?
In 2010, we posted what appears to be the same species of Katydid from New Caledonia, and that individual was also dead, killed by a Gecko. At that time, Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki identified it as a large endemic species, Pseudophyllanax imperialis, commonly called a Coconut Grasshopper. You may read more (in French) about Pseudophyllanax imperialis on the Endemia.NC website.
Hi Daniel, thank you so very much for the response. I had seen that individual on your site but didn’t think it was the same thing – clearly my bug ID skills need work 😉 Thanks again and have a lovely holiday!
Letter 8 – Unknown Green Thing from Hawaii is a Katydid
Green Insect Found On Oahu
Location: Honolulu, HI
January 31, 2011 1:48 am
Hi, I found this insect on a hike in Manoa this weekend. Do you know what it is? It was on a tree near a river.
Do you have a photo with more depth of field that shows some of the physical characteristics of this creature, like its head? It appears from your photo that the creature keeps its back two pairs of legs together, but we cannot make out what is going on with the front legs. Perhaps one of our readers will recognize this creature, which we believe might be some Orthopteran, the order that included crickets and katydids. Since we cannot make out any wings, we believe this may be an immature specimen.
Thank for your reply. I was thinking a form of leaf insect too, but then I was thinking that it had characteristics of a net casing spider also. This was the only photo that I was able to get of it.
Thank you for your help.
Update courtesy of Karl
Hi Daniel and EMC:
I believe you are correct Daniel in suggesting that this is a katydid (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae). I was able to find only one similar image on a site by Collin Miller (scroll down four images). Unfortunately creature is not identified beyond family but, although the photo is a little fuzzy, it does show what is going on with the front legs. It probably is a juvenile so a more precise identification will likely require some expertise or a lot of research. Regards. Karl
Letter 9 – Raspy Cricket from the Philippines
February 14, 2010
My cousin found an unsual cricket at the backyard. It has wings and the head is black colored. It a little aggressive when I tried to touch it.
After I took the pictures, it hopped liked a grasshopper with its wings still spread and headed towards the plants. I wasn’t able to take the picture with its wings retracted.
That is one crazy looking insect. It is a Longhorned Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera, and we believe it is a Katydid in the family Tettigoniidae, most likely a predatory species. We will check with Piotr Naskrecki, an expert in the family, to see if he recognizes this spectacular creature with its aggressive threat posture.
Piotr Naskrecki Responds
This is not a katydid, but a member of Gryllacrididae, a distantly related
family. Most of them, if not all, are voracious predators that actively hunt
prey by constantly running along branches in search of insects. I cannot say
what genus it is, possibly Gryllacris or Caustogryllacris; very little work
has been done on this group since the 1920s.
Letter 10 – Red Headed Bush Cricket
Red and black cricket-like insect
Location: Central Ohio
August 1, 2011 4:15 pm
I have been seeing these little guys hanging around on my lilac bush. They look like crickets, but I haven’t been able to identify them. Perhaps it’s a katydid nymph of some kind?
Signature: Morgan in Hilliard, Ohio
The Red Headed Bush Cricket, Phyllopalpus pulchellus, reminds you of a Cricket because it is a true Cricket in the family Gryllidae. According to BugGuide, it is also called a Handsome Trig.
Letter 11 – Spiny Rainforest Katydid from Australia
Subject: Insect in Australian Wet Tropics
Location: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
November 24, 2016 6:16 pm
Please see the pix (on one MSWord doc of 2 pages; I tried sending JPGs but they won’t go through). The insect is huge. The body is about 2 inches long. It was photographed at night in tropical rainforest.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving and thank you.
Signature: Jim (Hackett)
This is a Katydid and we identified it as a Spiny Rainforest Katydid, Phricta aberrans, thanks to Oz Animals where it states: “The Spiny Rainforest Katydid is a very unusual subtropical rainforest katydid from eastern Queensland and northern New South Wales. The body and legs have numerous thorny spines and antennae are very long. The insect is greenish above with different shades of green and brownish colours providing excellent camouflage; the underside is pale.” There is a nice image posted to ipernity. The ovipositor on your individual indicates she is a female.
Thank you very much. It is is fact more likely to be the closely related Phricta spinosa, which ranges in rainforest from Cooktown to Innisfail. Cairns is in the middle of this range.
Letter 12 – Unicorn Corn Cricket
Location: Daroo National Park, Cape Province, South Africa
April 17, 2013 6:32 pm
Sorry to be so presumptuous by emailing you directly… but hoped that this little guy (attached) may be one of the more unusual bizarre looking crawly-things. It certainly was to us.
The photograph was taken by my father, Meredith Nel in South Africa during a trip to the Karoo National Park in the Cape Province.
Would you be so kind as to ID it for us?
With many thanks
We really do prefer that you use our standard form since things are nicely and uniformly submitted for our website that way.
We couldn’t help but to notice that horn in the middle of this Ensiferan’s forehead, so on a lark, we did a web search of “unicorn katydid south africa” and we immediately found the I Spot Southern Africa website and some photos identified as the Unicorn Corn Cricket, Acanthoproctus vittatus, that is described as: “About 4-5 cm long with numerous sharp projections on carapace, single “horn” on forehead.” We sought additional verification and searched the scientific name which led to Taxa Hierarchy. Finally, the Animal Diversity Web website confirms that this is a Katydid in the family Tettigoniidae. We don’t know how official the name Unicorn Corn Cricket is, but is seems so descriptive and our initial impulse led to what might otherwise have been a much more difficult identity search.
Thank you Daniel, and sorry for overstepping the boundaries 🙂
Really do appreciate it… especially the detail into which you provide references (which I looked at) and information.
Thanks again and take care
PLease don’t worry about it Marlise. We are thrilled to have gotten your wonderful photos to add to our archive.
Letter 13 – Shieldbacked Katydid
Subject: what is this bug
Location: Little Naches [Washington]
May 13, 2015 6:37 pm
It chirps and when frightened it flips on his back to look like a spider
Signature: Tara Riddell
This appears to be some species of Shieldbacked Katydid. We will attempt to contact Piotr Naskrecki to see if he is able to identify the genus or species.
Letter 14 – Raspy Cricket from Australia
Subject: Strange bug
Location: Pyramid hill, Victoria, 3575, Australia
February 28, 2015 7:34 am
I have never seen anything like it! This bug looks like a bug cream coloured wasp! Please help me identify it… By the way i am in Australia, Victoria, Pyramid hill.
This is a harmless female Katydid, and we suspect you mistook her for a wasp because of the stinger-like ovipositor which is used to deposit eggs. We are not certain of the species, but you may be able to identify it on the Brisbane Insect website.
Update: October 31, 2016
We just received a comment that this is a Raspy Cricket.
Letter 15 – Raspy Cricket from Australia
Subject: IS THIS GRASSHOPPER /WASP?
Location: RIVERLAND. SOUTH AUSTRALIA.
January 16, 2013 9:32 am
CAN YOU PLEASE IDENTIFY THIS BUG FOR ME AND IS THERE LIKELY TO BE MORE OF THEM HERE. THANKYOU.
You really don’t need to worry much about this Raspy Cricket in the family Gryllacrididae and likely in the genus Ametrus. We identified it from our own archives thanks to the input of a noted Katydid expert, Piotr Naskrecki. What appears to be a stinger is actually the females ovipositor, an organ used in the laying of eggs.
THANKYOU DANIEL FOR YOUR FAST REPLY…I AM VISION IMPAIRED AND ACTUALLY THOUGHT IT WAS A HUGE SPIDER THAT LANDED ON MY SHOULDER..I SCREAMED SO FRIENDS CAME RUNNING AND FOUND THE INSECT..IT WAS THEY WHO NEEDED IT IDENTIFIED AND TY SOO MUCH…GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR GREAT WORK..GRANNY..
Letter 16 – Raspy Cricket from Madagascar
Tsingy Bemaraha Katydid
Location: Western Madagascar
April 10, 2012 6:45 am
I recently found this on the Bemaraha plateau at the village of Bevero in Madagascar. Have you any idea if it has been seen before? A designation down to species would be appreciated if possible. What possible advantage could there be in this shocking green and pink combination? Your thoughts please, Thank you. Len
Signature: Len deBeer
We will contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can identify this species which is possibly an immature specimen since it is lacking wings. We don’t have a theory on the advantage of the coloration of this Katydid.
Piotr Naskrecki Responds
This is not a katydid but a nymph of a gryllacridid, also known as a leaf-rolling or raspy cricket. But it would be difficult to ID the genus at this stage as this is a very young nymph.
Letter 17 – Scudder's Bush Katydid Nymph
Insect with corncob body
Enjoy your site immensely…..I sent you this photo yesterday, but I think it was probably too large. I’ve resized it, and would be curious to know what it is. It looks like a grasshopper got crossed up with a miniature ear of corn, and I don’t know where it got those huge hind legs that appear to be upside down! Thanks.
Thank you for reading about our current technical problems and resending your image at a manageable size. We have been forced to delete what we suspect are numerous wonderful images because we are unable to make individual requests to resend. This is some species of Katydid in the family Tettigoniidae. It is an immature nymph and will grow to have wings.
Update: (07/03/2008) Katydid IDs from Piotr Naskrecki
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: Nymph of Scudderia sp.
Letter 18 – Raspy Cricket from India
Cricket from India
Location: Agumbe, Karnataka, India
April 10, 2012 7:26 pm
This photo of an unidentified cricket was taken in January by a trip mate on a recent adventure in India. The antennas must have been near a foot long! She was on a fence post with her ovipositor out, so we tried not to disturb her too much. Any ID would be greatly appreciated!
We are not certain if this Longhorned Orthopteran is a Katydid or a Raspy Cricket, which is what we are leaning towards. We will contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to get his input.
You are correct, this is a raspy cricket. The easiest way to tell them apart is to look at the front tibia: a katydid will have tympanum (or a least a tympanal slit) below the knee, raspy crickets don’t have them. Unfortunately, I will not be able to tell you more about this Indian species other than that it is possibly (with a big question mark) a member of the genus Pardogryllacris.
Letter 19 – Shieldback Katydid from South Africa
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
February 17, 2014 6:32 am
I found this insect in my home in Cape Town, South Africa. It was indoors. We are currently experience a heat wave in the middle of Summer.
Please can you identify it?
This is a female Katydid, not a Cricket, but since both names are common rather than scientific, they are not the best terms for scientific classification. The average reader might not even care about the distinction. Katydids and Crickets are both Longhorned Orthopterans in the suborder Ensifera. We have contacted Piotr Naskrecki in the hope that he can provide a species identification for us. This individual is a female. The spike protruding from the tip of her abdomen is her ovipositor.
Piotr Naskrecki provides and ID
This is Alfredectes semiaeneus, a common shieldback (Tettigoniinae: Arytropteridini) from the Western and Eastern Cape.
Letter 20 – Rare Katydid from Uganda: Pronomapyga grandis
January 23, 2014 11:58 pm
I am looking to identifying this insect, it was on Uganda’s forest floor. If you know what it is I would be very grateful.
Signature: Thank you
This beautiful insect is a Katydid and we are going to attempt a species identification for you. We didn’t have any luck with an identification so we will contact Piotr Naskrecki to get some assistance.
Piotr Naskrecki provides a genus identification
This is an interesting coincidence – I am now in Mozambique, and just yesterday I collected, for the first time ever, a specimen of the same genus! This katydid belongs to the genus Poecilogramma (Phaneropterinae), but I would need to see more characters to be able to ID the species. These katydids are diurnal and probably toxic – they behave almost like tiger moths, flying slowly during the day and flashing brightly colored hind wings.
Ed. Note: The only images we managed to locate online from the genus are on SysTax of mounted specimens, captured in Tanzania in the 19th century.
Correction Courtesy of Piotr Naskrecki
I need to correct the ID of the pretty katydid from Uganda – it is not Poecilogramma, but its close relative Pronomapyga grandis. This species is known only from its holotype from “East Africa” and so the specimen from Uganda is only the second individual ever recorded.
Letter 21 – Uniform Shieldback Katydid, NOT Lesser Meadow Katydid
Location: San Diego, north county
July 18, 2014 11:26 am
We found this cricket-type in Poway, CA I couldn’t find it in my guides. What is it?
Signature: Up to you.
We have not been able to locate a good match on BugGuide, but we believe that this is a Lesser Meadow Katydid in the genus Conocephalus. You cas nee the similarities to this Straight-Lanced Meadow Katydid pictured on BugGuide, though your individual lacks the marking along the head and back. We will try to get another opinion on this identification.
July 19, 2014: Eric Eaton provides a correction
I disagree, actually. This should be a much larger creature than a meadow katydid. It is one of the shield-backed katydids of which California has a great number of endemic (found only in California) species. This *might* be Idiostatus aequalis, but I would not put money on it. Lots of other similar genera even.
Letter 22 – Undescribed Species: Lichen Mimic Katydid from Peru
Camouflaged katydid from Peru
Location: Shima, near Satipo, Junin, Peru
February 27, 2011 5:47 am
This katydid appears to be camouflaged for a lichen environment. It came to a moth light in Junin state, Peru. Can anyone please help me find the species?
Signature: Peter Bruce-Jones
Several years ago, we posted a photo of a Moss Mimic Katydid from Costa Rica, and if you look at that posting, you will see some similarities, but we don’t believe this is the same species. We will try to contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can properly identify your species.
Comment from Piotr Naskrecki
This is an almost certainly undescribed species of the tribe Dysonini (Phaneropterinae), possibly Machima sp. It is a very poorly known group of katydids, and virtually nothing is known about their biology, other than their remarkable mimicry of lichens.
Letter 23 – Unknown Katydid from Australia
Subject: Bug identification
Geographic location of the bug: Perth, western Australia
Time: 12:23 AM EDT
Hi, I am from Guildford in Western Australia. Today we found this insect in our yard and were wondering if you could help identify it.
It is 4cm long and doesn’t seem to jump.
We haven’t seen anything like this around before.
How you want your letter signed: Teneale Williams
This is a Longhorned Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera, and it might be a Shielbacked Katydid, but it is difficult for us to be certain based on this ventral view. Since it is clearly in captivity, are you able to provide a dorsal view?
Thanks for sending another image. We can tell you that based on the curved ovipositor at the tip of the abdomen, that this is a female. The wings might indicate she is immature, but many Katydids are flightless and have only vestigial wings. We will contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki for species identification assistance.
Letter 24 – Pinkish Bush Katydid in Ventura
Subject: Leaflike grasshopper
Geographic location of the bug: Ventura, California
Time: 07:15 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Dear Bugman,
I’ve noticed this grasshopper in my yard in several places lately. First he was stuck in my house and I caught him and took him outside. Today I got a great shot of him on the plumeria tree. His body looks so much like a leaf! Do you know what his name is?
How you want your letter signed: Tonja…we met at a party in Ventura!
We were talking on the phone this evening with Melanie on the Irish Chain and we commented that we hadn’t posted to WTB? recently because we are so busy. This pinkish Katydid is awesome looking. Most Katydids are green in color, and occasionally individuals from some normally green species are vividly pink, and some are more subtly pink. We believe your individual is a Broad-Winged Katydid, Microcentrum rhombifolium, which we located on the Natural History of Orange County site, or perhaps the closely related California Angle-Winged Katydid, Microcentrum californicum, which we located on BugGuide. We have not had any luck locating any unusual color variants of either species. We will attempt to contact Piotr Naskrecki for species confirmation. We find it closer visually to the Plumeria buds rather than its leaves, and with the unusual coloration of your individual, we would go so far as to say it is almost camouflaged among the buds.
Not a Microcentrum but Scudderia. Very interesting, pink forms are not common in this genus.
Letter 25 – Pink Oblong Winged Katydid
Subject: Pink Katydid??
Geographic location of the bug: Pearland, Texas
Time: 12:58 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: On July 4, 2021 I was outside and saw this insect on a plant. It is very large in size. Is it a pink Katydid and how rare is the coloration? I have never seen this color on any insect. The images are unedited & the coloration of the photos are unaltered.
How you want your letter signed: TxGemini
Several species of Katydids in the genus Amblycorypha, the Oblong Winged Katydids, have several color variations, including pink as this BugGuide image illustrates. While we would not consider pink Katydids to be rare, we would say they are uncommon and definitely a treat to encounter. We have several examples of Pink Oblong Winged Katydids on our site and we never tire of posting new fabulous images like yours. The pink (magenta to a photographer) color of the Katydid against the complimentary color green background in your images is stunning. We are going to feature your submission on our scrolling feature bar. As an aside, seeing a pink Katydid on a pink flower explains how this color variation can actually act as camouflage.
Letter 26 – Pink Sport of maybe Amblycorypha oblongifolia
I found this pink katydid Okalaloacoochee Slough State Forest in Hendry County Florida. I’ve never run into a pink one, and I thought I’d share it with you folks.
Steven W. Woodmansee
The Institute for Regional Conservation
Great photo. We have always wondered about a plate with a pink katydid in our old Lutz Field Book. Lutz writes that Amblycorpha oblongifolia is usually green, but that “it and many other green insects have brown or pink sports.” This is a first for us as well. We will write to Eric Eaton to see if he can add anything. He may request that we post the image on BugGuide if you don’t mind.
Letter 27 – Possibly Bush Cricket from the West Indies
Colorful Cricket Nymph
Location: Grand Case, Saint Martin, French West Indies
December 22, 2010 8:07 am
I recently found this in a meadow near where I live in Grand Case, Saint Martin (French West Indies). It seems to be a cricket nymph, but beyond that I’m not sure. Any ideas?
We believe this may be an immature male Bush Cricket in the subfamily Trigonidiinae, but we are not certain. We will try to contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to get his input.
Thanks for the response. I’ll keep an eye out for updates. I love your site!
Letter 28 – Possibly Cattail Conehead Katydid
Geographic location of the bug: Midlothian, Virginia
Time: 11:29 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hi there –
I found this pretty girl hanging out on my front porch this evening. Is it in the katydid family? Thank you!
How you want your letter signed: Kim
This is indeed a Katydid, and we believe it is one of the Coneheads, possibly the Cattail Conehead which is pictured on BugGuide.
Letter 29 – Possibly Cattail Katydid
Subject: Green Bug with Stinger?
July 8, 2013 7:30 pm
We found this little guy on our window today. It looks like a katydid but it has a long brown tail-like thing that we haven’t seen before. It is about 2 inches in length. Thanks!
We are guessing that you are in Boone, North Carolina. You are correct about this being a Katydid. More specifically, it is a Conehead Katydid and we believe we have correctly identified it as a Cattail Conehead, Bucrates mailvolans, based on photos posted to BugGuide. The “stinger” is actually the ovipositor of the female.
Letter 30 – Possibly Drumming Katydid
Subject: Smiling Green Guy
Geographic location of the bug: Southern Wisconsin
Time: 02:00 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I saw this smiling bug on my window yesterday and have never seen it before. I looked all over and nothing else seems to have it’s same tail with this body structure. I think it may be a katydid and possibly a drumming katydid. Any help is appreciated.
How you want your letter signed: Michelle
The “tail” is actually the ovipositor, an organ used to lay eggs, on this female Katydid. We believe you are correct that it is a Drumming Katydid based on this and other BugGuide images.
Thank you SO much! I really wanted to make sure this wasn’t an unusual insect for our area.
Letter 31 – Shortwinged Predatory Katydid from South Africa
Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
December 15, 2014 8:18 am
We saw this crazy bug while hiking in the dunes of the Western Cape National Park in South Africa in December. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good photo indicating scale, however, in it’s entirety, it was approximately the size of an average man’s palm (about 3 inches across.) It also had “wings”, black in color and round in shape, positioned under it’s legs which seems to vibrate when we got near, making a loud “buzzing” sound which was what caught my attention. The colors were vibrant and it was a little intimidating! Our friends that lived in the area said they had never seen such a thing! Any ideas? Curious minds want to know! Thank you!
Ed. Note: The identical image was sent with this request
Subject: Funky critter in South Africa
Location: the Dunes in West Coast National Park Langebaan-Western-Cape-South-Africa
December 15, 2014 2:00 pm
This is an unusual spider located on the Dunes in West Coast National Park Langebaan-Western-Cape-South-Africa
Trying to determine what the species actually is? hopefully you can answer our query.
Signature: Mrs. Lauri Brownson
Because this Orthopteran is on its back with its belly in the air, we are going to have a very difficult time identifying it. We can tell you it is a Longhorned Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera, and that it is most likely a King Cricket in the subfamily Hetrodinae. We are leaning toward the genus Acanthoplus, and you can see a brightly colored individual here on iSpot as well as here on iSpot. King Crickets are also known as Corn Crickets.
Dear Mrs. Lauri Brownson,
We received the identical image from Jenny. We are enclosing the reply we sent her.
Interesting creature to say the least! thank you for your time! and speed!
Location: West Coast, South Africa
December 17, 2014 3:05 am
Thank you for taking the time to look at the photo I submitted yesterday for identification. I was having trouble finding a confirmation on it;s i.d., so I contacted the University of Cape Town, South Africa, as this is the region in which we sighted the gorgeous insect. Associate Professor of Biological Sciences and co-author of the “Field Guide to Insects of South Africa”, Mike Picker offered this info regarding the photo:
“This was an unusual sighting, in that these carnivorous grasshoppers are rarely seen, except at night when they emerge from the dense bushes in which they hide during the day. They are fairly common along the west coast all the way to Namibia, with adults maturing in summer. They are katydids (Tettigoniidae), Hemiclonia melanoptera (Short-winged predatory katydid). The wings seem to be used as a warning signal (the buzzing that you describe) although I have not seen this. There are four related species in the genus, and other winged species in the summer rainfall part of the region. All can deliver a severe bite (have massive black toothed mandibles) – so you did the right thing by not picking it up!”
With his permission, I thought I’d share this with you and your staff to help with future identifications!
Thanks again for your time!
Signature: Kind Regards, Jenny Haldiman
Thanks for that update Jenny. We searched that name and we found this posting listed under the genus Clonia on iSpot. There is also an image on Zandvlei Turst Insects and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility indicates that Clonia and Hemiclonia are synonyms. ISpot also has this fine image.
Letter 32 – Possibly Ovate Shieldback Katydid
Subject: Kolob cricket?
Geographic location of the bug: Kolob canyon utah
Time: 11:48 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: What kind of bug is this? Looks like a type of cricket. Color was almost a neon green and bright red in person. Was eating a flying ant.
How you want your letter signed: Courtney
We believe we have identified your Shieldback Katydid as an Ovate Shieldback Katydid in the genus Aglaothorax which is pictured on BugGuide. BugGuide lists the range as “sw. US (AZ-NV-CA)” which is Utah adjacent. We will attempt to contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he is able to verify our identification.
Letter 33 – Possibly Slightly Musical Conehead
Subject: Bug ID Help
Location: Raleigh, NC area
October 15, 2016 3:23 pm
I found this bug at the end of September in the Raleigh, NC area. I thought it was a large grasshopper, but after further inspection I noticed the head was really different than any grasshopper I’ve ever seen. I came across your site trying to find out what it was. Any help would be great! Thank you.
This is one of the Coneheads in the genus Neoconocephalus, possibly the Slightly Musical Conehead, Neoconocephalus exiliscanorus, which is pictured on BugGuide. According to BugGuide: “Has the longest cone among U.S. conehead species.”
Letter 34 – Predatory Bush Cricket from Serbia
Huge green Ortopthera (?)
July 5, 2009
Helo! Todays walk near Danube cliff revealed me this huge cricket, which im trying to identify whole day. But closest that i get is Phaneroptera nana… Still it doesnt seep to be one. Phaneroptera nana is relatively frekvent here… Anyway, this one on the picture have more coned head, somewhat thinner body and white stripes 🙂 Can u help?
This is most definitely not a Mediterranean Katydid, Phaneroptera nana. Your specimen is a female judging by her long swordlike ovipositor. She is also in the suborder Ensifera, the Longhorned Orthopterans. We also would concur that this is a species of Katydid in the family Tettigoniidae. We believe we have identified it as a Predatory Bush Cricket in the genus Saga, perhaps Saga pedo based on a photo on BioLib. There are many additional images on BioLib and when we did a websearch of the name, we found a page that indicates 6 specimens were found in Michigan and indicates it is called the Matriarchal Katydid because: “No males; females large and wingless. Known only from Jackson County, Michigan. Length 60–65 mm.” and “A reasonable hypothesis as to how the matriarchal katydid was brought to Michigan is that one or more of its eggs were in soil adhering to farm equipment returning from plowing contests in Italy. The first Michigan specimen was collected in 1970 and only six have been taken since. Unlike our native katydids and other species of Saga in Europe, the matriarchal katydid is obligatorily parthenogenetic. No males are known from here or from Europe. Even though there is no male calling song, females have prominent tympanal organs on the fore tibiae.” We located a pdf ( cantrall72) of a Great Lakes Entomologist article written by Irving J Cantrall that contains accounts of the discovery in the early 1970s of this species in Michigan.
Letter 35 – Predatory Katydid from South Africa
Location: South Africa
January 12, 2016 11:40 pm
Hi I just want to ID this bug can’t seem to find its name was hoping you guys can help, thanks
This is a Katydid, and we got our first clue thanks to the Getty Images site where we determined the genus to be Clonia. Here is another similar image from iSpot. Most of the iSpot images are of winged individuals so we are presuming your image is an immature nymph. The presence of the long ovipositor is an indication this is a female. We will try to contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can provide additional information.
Piotr Naskrecki responds
From this dorsal view it is difficult to say what it is, do you have a lateral view? It is definitely a Clonia but not sure which subgenus, Xanthoclonia or Hemiclonia. Do you know the exact locality where this photo was taken?
Letter 36 – Prickly Katydid from Australia
Firstly – can I say what a wondeful site you have – truly inspiring. Secondly I wonder if you can help me in identifying the insect in the attached picture which I believe to be part of the phasmid family. It was located in the Daintree rainforest near Cairns Australia. The length of the insect was approximately 5 inches (12 -13 centimetres) and it was quietly laid up on the side of a tree facing upwards vertically. I had leaned in to photograph a cicada that I had spotted and almost placed my hand on top of this insect – I guesss you could say I had a small surprise when my wife pointed it out beside my hand……… Anyway – hope you can assist – keep up the wonderful website. Many thanks
After doing a bit of web searching, we believe this is a Raspy Cricket in the family Gryllacrididae, but there is only one species, the Striped Raspy Cricket, Paragryllacris combusta, pictured on the GeoCities website. The markings on your specimen are a bit different. We found another site that follows the metamorphosis from nymph to adult of the Striped Raspy Cricket or Tree Cricket. Perhaps Grev can substantiate and provide an exact species.
The “raspy cricket” from Australia is actually some kind of katydid, family Tettigioniidae, but I’m not at all familiar with the fauna down under.
Good morning Daniel,
Let me say I am no expert on bugs. I am just very interested and curious about all the creatures in my own garden – usually if I can identify something it is because I have photographed it and done some research to find out what it is. So, your question about the Raspy Cricket set me searching. I compared it to photos in David Rentz’ s “Grasshopper Country” but remained puzzled. David Rentz says there are 200 species of Raspy Cricket in Australia and most have not been described. They are all nocturnal and spend their days in burrows or in shelters made of leaves and twigs – Nick’s insect was on a tree, so, perhaps not a Raspy. Then I saw Eric’s identification – a Katydid. So, over to the Katydid pages, where there appears one that could be Nick’s insect- a Phricta species, or Prickly Katydid, a rainforest species that lives in trees in Queensland and Northern New South Wales. See: http://www.anhs.com.au/prickly katydid.htm
Hope this helps. Best wishes,
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: Phricta sp.
Letter 37 – Probably Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid
Scudderia Furcata Katydid female
Location: Vancouver, Washington
November 21, 2010 12:05 am
I recently sent a letter to you asking the specific species of a little Katydid from the northwestern U.S about a week ago, probably on veterans day.
Well, I researched a little for myself and figured she was a scudderia furcata, as she matches that most.
The little gal is a veteran herself; having lost her two rearmost legs. I found her outside on my porch, and she didn’t fuss at all when I caught her in a little container.
Now she’s in a little terrarium, filled with moss, sticks, and an abundant amount of food. She seems happy enough without her legs; but one inquiry I haven’t been able to find the answer to is whether or not her legs will grow back.
I’m attaching as many of the good photos I have of her as I can. I hope you will publish this, and fast, because it’s not a research piece. I’m also hoping that she’ll lay eggs every time her ovipositor shifts down to let her poo, but then again that’s just a hope. 🙂
By the way; I’ve named her Kekoa. A friend told me it means ’Little Brave One’.
Signature: Sincerely, Kaetlin the bug fanatic
We believe your identification of a Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid is correct, though we would not entirely discount another member is the genus as several other species may be found in your area according to BugGuide’s data. Kekoa’s legs will not grow back. Leg regeneration is unusual in insects, though some spiders are able to regenerate missing limbs if they are young. The new limb will grow with each new molt. As an adult, Kekoa will not molt again, so her legs will not regenerate.
Letter 38 – Probably Katydid Eggs from Australia
Subject: What are these strange pods?
Geographic location of the bug: NSW, Australia
Time: 03:36 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I have these brown pod things in my cupboard outside. They’re about as wide as my finger and are stuck to the underside of a shelf lengthways. They appeared a few days ago. It is summer.
How you want your letter signed: Should I be afraid?
Dear Should I be afraid?
Though your image lacks critical sharpness, we nonetheless believe these are Katydid Eggs. Here is an image from Bower Bird of Australian Katydid Eggs. Katydids are similar to Grasshoppers, and they will feed on plants in the garden, but they should not cause you any fear, though large individuals, especially predatory species, can have powerful mandibles that could conceivably deliver a painful bite, so they should be handled with caution.
Letter 39 – Recently Hatched Katydid
Subject: Stumped on this one…
Location: Northern Illinois
June 6, 2017 8:36 am
Left my water bottle on the ground while I was doing some work outside, came back to find this on the lid. I’ve looked around but I can’t figure out what it is, any ideas?
This is a recently hatched Katydid, but we are not certain of the genus or species. We are post-dating your submission to go live to our site later in the month when our editorial staff is away on holiday.
Letter 40 – Red Eyed Devil
huge outer space bug
Location: Austin Texas at Lake Travis
July 23, 2010 12:11 pm
I need help… while camping in Texas we came across this huge grass hopper type bug with packs on it’s back, weird mouth, legs and everything else…. I just got to find out…
Dear Bug Quest,
This Greater Arid Land Katydid, Neobarrettia spinosa, is in the same order as a Grasshopper, Orthoptera, but then their taxonomies diverge. Katydids are Long Horned Orthopterans in the suborder Ensifera and the family Tettigoniidae. The Spiny Predatory Katydids in the genus Neobarrettia are “voraciously omnivorous” according to BugGuide, which also indicates: “When approached, said to sometimes threaten and attack, may bite and draw blood.” We are rather fond of the less commonly used but colorfully descriptive name Red Eyed Devil.
Letter 41 – Red Eyed Devil
Subject: This bug is devouring my post oak trees
Location: Bastrop County, Texas
July 9, 2012 11:14 am
It ”sings” all night and makes a horrible noise. It makes it difficult to sleep they are so loud. As they get older they turn reddish brown and get about 2 inches long. They eat the leaves off my post oaks and leave poop everywhere. What can I do to get rid of them?
Signature: Peggie Gustafson
According to BugGuide, this Greater Arid Land Katydid, Neobarrettia spinosa, is also called the Red Eyed Devil. They are a predatory species of Katydid and they are reported to be capable of producing a painful bite. We do not give extermination advice. Was your photo really taken in 2007? You have waited such a long time to get an identification.
Letter 42 – Red Eyed Devil
Subject: ”Red Eyed Devil
Location: My home, Bastrop County, Texas, USA
July 26, 2012 4:28 pm
Thank you for answering regarding my question about the red eyed devil. Yes the picture was taken in 2007 but they were not a real problem then. Didn’t know about you guys. Sorry its taken so long to git back to you but had a stroke and was in the hospital. Is the attached picture also red eyed devil? Came across it putting out trash. Its body was about 3 inches long and is not shaped the same.
Signature: Peggie Gustafson
Yes, this is a Red Eyed Devil and she is a female as evidenced by that impressive ovipositor that you have partially cropped out of this photograph. To Be Continued….
We wanted to go back through our archives to locate your previous submission so that we would have a better understanding of your question. The body shape of the individuals in each of your submitted photographs looks very similar to us. We hope your recovery from the stroke is swift.
Letter 43 – Red Eyed Devil
Subject: What bug is it?
July 27, 2013 8:09 am
Hi, a friend of mine found this insect at her house in central Texas. We think it is a katydid. What do you think?
You are correct that this is a Katydid. It is a Greater Arid-Land Katydid, Neobarrettia spinosa, also commonly called a Red Eyed Devil. While most Katydids are docile plant eaters, the Red Eyed Devil is described on BugGuide as being “Voraciously omnivorous!” as it is also a predatory species. These Food Chain images from our own archive can attest to that. BugGuide also notes: “When approached, may rear up in a formidable display. If handled carelessly, may bite and draw blood.” The spike at the end of the abdomen is the ovipositor, indicating that this is a female.
Letter 44 – Red Eyed Devil
Geographic location of the bug: texas hill country
Time: 12:38 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: a beautiful and alien looking friend, it has taken up residence under the gas grill cover. seems like a grasshopper but wings are so short and odd? thank you for your help!
How you want your letter signed: curious
We are thrilled to post your image of a predatory Katydid commonly called a Red Eyed Devil, Neobarrettia spinosa. According to BugGuide it is: “Voraciously omnivorous!” Though the Red Eyed Devil is not dangerous to humans, they do have powerful mandibles and they might deliver a painful bite if carelessly handled.
thank you very much for your help! how interesting!! voraciously omnivorous indeed! J
Letter 45 – Red Eyed Devil: Greater Arid-Land Katydid
What kind of bug is this?
July 27, 2009
We walked outside of the apartment to find this big huge green bug. We could not figure out what kind of bug it was. At first we thought it might be some sort of cricket or locus, but we could not find a picture online similar to it. Our town is between a city and country.
We just love that according to BugGuide, the Greater Arid-Land Katydid, Neobarrettia spinosa, is also known as a Red Eyed Devil. Unfortunately, your photo that shows the red eyes is quite blurry, but we are posting it anyway. The ovipositor indicates that this is a female. This is a predatory species. Also according to BugGuide, it may bite and draw blood.
Letter 46 – Red Headed Bush Cricket
cricket of some sort
We contacted Eric Eaton and here is his reply: “Its a female redheaded bush cricket, Phyllopalpus pulchellus.”
Letter 47 – Red Headed Bush Cricket
Subject: Type of cricket?
Geographic location of the bug: Goshen, NY
Time: 01:59 PM EDT
This looks similar to a cricket but it was very fast and only ~3/8 of an inch long. Its antenna were in constant motion. Its a rather mild day for October about 72 degrees. my first impression was that it was a predator.
How you want your letter signed: Rick Hansen
This is a Red Headed Bush Cricket. According to BugGuide: “Distinctive appearance. Red head/throrax, pale legs, dark bluish-black forewings. Last segment of palp is black and oval flattened shape. Female forewings are convex similar to beetles.”
Letter 48 – Red Headed Bush Cricket: AKA Handsome Trig
Did we stump you
August 8, 2009
Haven’t heard back..Did I stump you?
We did not see your identification request the first time you sent it. We consulted with Eric Eaton on this and his response is: “Daniel: Ok, the cricket is a nymph of a female redheaded bush cricket, Phyllopalpus pulchellus. Nice image. They really are a gaudy insect, especially when they are young:-) Eric” We are linking to the Bugguide information page on the Red Headed Bush Cricket which is also called the Handsome Trig. We have a vague recollection of that unusual name being in the news recently with regards to the national elections.
Letter 49 – Red Headed Meadow Katydid
Purple headed grass hopper or katydid
October 15, 2009
Found this fella hiding out in a toy dump truck. Could you please help me identify it? We live in Foley Alabama about 7 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.
South Alabama bug guy
South Alabama, 7 miles from the beach.
Dear South Alabama bug guy,
Your description nearly nailed it. This is a Red Headed Meadow Katydid, Orchelimum erythrocephalum, a species found in the southeastern states. You can get additional information on BugGuide.
Letter 50 – Red Headed Meadow Katydid
Location: Bucks, Alabama, USA
November 10, 2010 9:59 pm
I’ve been photographing some grasshoppers in a local field and am having trouble identifying them. I’m especially interested in identifying the one that is green with a pink/red head. Can you help?
Signature: L. Delega
Grasshoppers have short antennae and your individual has long antennae, identifying it as a Katydid. More specifically, it is the Red Headed Meadow Katydid, Orchelimum erythrocephalum, which we quickly identified on BugGuide. It is found in the Southeast in late summer and early fall.
Thanks Daniel. I’m so excited to learn that.
Letter 51 – Red Headed Meadow Katydid, we believe
Subject: Grasshopper in Piedmont region Georgia.
Location: Piedmont Georgia
November 9, 2016 6:12 pm
Trying to identify this grasshopper. Here’s a link http://m.imgur.com/2wFb2rh it’s gorgeous, I just want to know what it is! Thanks!
Signature: Mariah Dalton
This is not a Grasshopper, but rather a Katydid, and even more specifically a Greater Meadow Katydid in the genus Orchelimum. We believe this is a Red Headed Meadow Katydid, Orchelimum erythrocephalum, based on this BugGuide image and the description on BugGuide that states: “Coloration typically green with reddish highlights, including a (usually) bright red head in both sexes. Eyes light blue. Red head is (apparently?) distinctive in this genus, however some specimens do not show a bright red head.” The sickle-shaped ovipositor at the tip of the abdomen indicates that this is a female.
Letter 52 – Restless Bush Cricket
Subject: Beautiful cricket of some type.
November 10, 2012 11:39 am
Found in Delaware, mid Atlantic in early November in our vegetable garden. Garden contains peas, kale, and spinach. I have never seen a cricket with such striking colors. I was wondering what type it is and if it is abnormal or a threat to the garden. Thank you for your webpage.
It took us a bit of searching, but we eventually found this photo on BugGuide of a Restless Bush Cricket, Hapithus agitator, that matches your pretty little guy. According to BugGuide, they range from: “Pennsylvania south to Florida and west to central Texas” and “Females sometimes eat the male’s forewings during copulation.” Your individual is a male, and since he still has his wings, he is likely a virgin.
Letter 53 – Restless Bush Crickets
Restless Bush Crickets?
I took the enclosed picture of these very cute crickets on a potted plant along my front walk in suburban Philadelphia. I believe they are restless bush crickets, though they seemed pretty placid at the time. The big one on the left seems to be a female, while the other two seem to be males. Do you concur? Thanks for maintaining a wonderful website,
John Hufnagel in Upper Darby. PA
Thank you for sending in your wonderful image of correctly identified Restless Bush Crickets, Hapithus agitator, a new species for our site. There are many nice images on BugGuide as well.
Letter 54 – Round Headed Katydid: Pink Form
Pink – rose katydid
September 22, 2009
hey today i found a grasshopper that looks like a katydid and is pink and kind of rose colored and is quite beautiful, it is about 2 – 2.5 inches long. I have seen several bright green ones around but found this one today!
nassau county florida
The pink form of the Round Headed Katydids in the genus Amblycorypha is not very common. According to an Eric Eaton comment on BugGuide: “the genus Amblycorypha (roundheaded katydids), the only genus in North America that I am aware of that gets pink or red individuals.“
Letter 55 – Round Headed Katydid, we believe
Subject: Large gross bug
Geographic location of the bug: Hilton Head, SC
Time: 11:37 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I found this bug on my porch… it is about 4-5 inches long, its legs look like a grasshopper, face/antennae looks like a shrimp. It is expelling a thin brown liquid.
How you want your letter signed: C. Gates
Dear C. Gates,
This is a Katydid, and the ovipositor protruding from the tips of her wings identifies her as female. We believe this is a Round Headed Katydid in the genus Amblycorypha based on BugGuide where it states: “have long legs (hind femora extent almost to tips of tegmina) like Scudderia, but more rounded wings, and overall shape of Microcentrum, though rather more rounded (esp. tegmina), esp. in ♀♀. Top of the head rounded, strongly deflexed. Green, but some species, esp. A. floridana, have a pink phase (some have a yellow phase as well).” The brown color of your individual is not especially common.
Letter 56 – Saddle-back Bush Cricket from France
Subject: Insect from the south of France
Location: South of France, up a mountain, near Grimaud.
July 15, 2014 6:41 am
I came across this funny looking fellow, in the South of France, more specifically up a mountain near Cogolin, Grimaud and St. Tropez. This was two weeks ago, in the start of July.
It must have been around 8 cm long.
It had a slow and secure style of crawling. The thing that threw me off, is this very long and dangerous looking broth it has at the back.
Can you help me identify it?
Signature: Maria Olsson, Denmark
This is a Saddle-Back Bush Cricket in the genus Ephippiger, and according to Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki: “Normally this species is green, but at higher elevations you often find dark-colored forms of this (and other Ephippiger) species.” Though we are uncertain what you mean by “broth”, we understand you are referring to what appears to be a stinger. This is actually an ovipositor, the organ used by the female to lay eggs and it will not harm humans.
Letter 57 – Saddle-Backed Bush Cricket from Bulgaria
August 8, 2016 5:59 am
A friend of mine found this bug in his backyard. I could not ID it. It looks like weta to me which is strange – location is eastern Bulgaria. We have field crickets and grasshoppers here.
This Ensiferan is commonly called a Saddle-Backed Bush Cricket, and because of the long, sabre-like ovipositor, we are nearly certain it is a female Ephippiger ephippiger. A male Saddle-Backed Bush Cricket is pictured on David Element’s Wildlife Webpage and the European Locusts and Their Ecology site states: “threatened with extinction” and “In Germany Ephippiger ephippiger is critically endangered at the very few still existing sites (today almost exclusively in the middle Rhine valley area and its warmest tributary river valleys) by habitat changes. In Southern Europe (e.g. Southern France or Northern Greece) it is still more common.” There is a nice image of a male Saddle-Backed Bush Cricket from Croatia on Project Noah.
Letter 58 – Saddle-Backed Bush Cricket from France
Subject: Massive Provence black and yellow bug
Location: Eguille, Provence
October 11, 2013 10:04 am
Out on a walk last week in the Pine Forest Of Eguilles (S of France) and this enormous black and yellow insect hissed at us and stalked, on long legs by. It was as loud as a cat hissing! It was at least 2 inches long and the sting was as long as the body.
Steered well clear !! Would love to know what it is.
Signature: Out and about in France
Many thanks for your help. Nothing deadly then!
Letter 59 – Saddle-Backed Bush Cricket from Bulgaria
Subject: Bush Cricket in Bulgaria
Geographic location of the bug: Central Bulgaria/ Stara Planina
Time: 10:15 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Dear whoever is reading this,
Today I have found a bush cricket in Bulgaria but I don’t know which type it is. It is in my garden in the mountains near the town of troyan. Hopefully you can identify what type it is.
How you want your letter signed: George
We are relatively certain this is a Saddle-Backed Bush Cricket, Ephippiger ephippiger. The species has both green and brown forms. The long ovipositor indicates this is a female.
Letter 60 – Saddle-Backed Bushcricket from France
Subject: Is this a Katydid
Location: Languedoc, South France
October 28, 2013 10:20 am
I used to come across a similar looking insect when I lived in South Africa that we called a Katydid. Saw this one recently in the South of France and wondered if it was the same species
You are correct. This is a Katydid. It appears to be a Saddle-Backed Bushcricket, Ephippiger ephippiger, and you may verify our identification on Orthoptera Species File. According to Piotr Naskrecki, a Katydid expert, there are ” two or three very similar species are also known from Provence.” What you saw in South Africa was most likely a distant relative.
Thanks for your reply, I wonder if it’s possible that when vines were taken out by French immigrants in the late 15th century the insects could have gone with the cuttings and what we saw in South Africa was possibly directly related to the insects from here, albeit be it a few generations later.
Letter 61 – Saddlebacked Bush Cricket and Predatory Bush Cricket from Turkey
Subject: Three bugs to identify
Geographic location of the bug: Kayakoy village, Turkey (near Fethiye)- taken in May
Time: 08:27 PM EDT
Could you please help me identify these three bugs I snapped while walking around the deserted village of Kayakoy in the hills between Fethiye and Oludeniz. (These are cropped images- the last two are incredibly well camouflaged in the full shots.)
How you want your letter signed: Nick
Your first image is of a Saddlebacked Bush Cricket in the genus Ephippiger, and your second image is of a Mantid. Your third image is an Orthopteran, but the image is so closely cropped that you have eliminated helpful features, including the antennae and the legs. It might be a predatory Bush Cricket, Saga pedo, a species profiled on Alamy, and another member of the genus Saga natoliae, is reported from Turkey and is pictured on The Smaller Majority. Saga pedo is also pictured on Wonders at our Feet where it states: “Description: It is a wingless bush cricket, with the body size of up to 12 centimetres (4.7 in), which makes it one of the largest European insects. It has strong fore and mid legs, equipped with sharp spines. Biology : Colloquially known as the predatory bush cricket, it is uncommon among its kind due to its carnivorous lifestyle, most often preying on smaller insects, with a known tendency towards cannibalism as well. When these animals are hunting, they move about, catching their prey by suddenly leaping on them and grabbing them with their legs. Their prey is usually killed by biting into the throat, and eating is done at capture. Saga pedo is active at dusk and during nighttime, with activity slowly expanding through the day at the end of the season. Adults are eaten by birds, insectivores, rodents, lizards, frogs, and toads. Nymphs are eaten by spiders, scorpions, centipedes, and preying insects. The female attains sexual maturity three two four weeks after hatching and starts laying eggs. A single egg is deposited by stabbing the long, sharp ovipositor into the soil at a suitable site.The female will lay from twenty- five to eighty eggs. Development depends largely on the ambient temperature. At 20°C or more, the eggs start to develop immediately, the nymphs hatching after approximately 40 to 85 days (again depending on the temperature). At colder conditions, the eggs enter diapause, which is a delay in development and can result in the eggs remaining buried for up to five years (mostly two to three). After hatching, which occurs around May, the nymphs go through six or seven instars before attaining sexual maturity, and live for four to six months after that. Saga pedo is also uncommon in that it mostly reproduces asexually, with parthenogenesis. The population therefore appears to consist solely of females and there is no reliable record of a male of this species. They also have the largest number of chromosomes among members of the genus Saga – 68 – and are probably tetraploid.” We are going to contact Piotr Naskrecki, a Katydid expert, to get his input. Can you please send the uncropped image before we attempt any further research?
Letter 62 – SAVE KARDON PARK: Immature Scudder's Bush Katydid
Ed. Note: Any assistance that you are able to provide to the Friends of Kardon Park will help a worthy cause.
Location: Chester County, PA
August 8, 2012 7:05 am
it looks like a bug with grasshopper hind legs but the body doesn’t look like a grasshopper. Body is bright green with a dark design down its back. Antennae longer than the body – black with white ’dashes’ that get longer toward the end of each.
And it’s sitting on very colorful dock (plant)
I think it’s a fascinating and quite pretty insect, but what is it???
Thank you so much for the immediate response! I had taken a picture of the most colorful Dock in the meadow next to a pond in Kardon Park, Downingtown, Chester County, PA in 2010. Seeing it on the computer, I saw and then enlarged the beautiful bug. Back then, I’d emailed a photo of it to an entomologist who responded with, “I’m not sure”
I am a member of Friends of Kardon Park a non-profit group trying to protect the 50-acre park from development. We’re now in the first round of appeals.
The Immature Catydid photo is # 22 of 25 in this series below (on our facebook page).
When I am able to add the name to the picture, I will also include your name and website as being responsible for letting me know what it was!
Many thanks again and thank you for keeping up such a wonderful website
Help Save Kardon Park!!!
Hi again Sarah,
Now we are feeling guilty that we provided you with such a short response, but in the interest of responding to as many identification requests as possible, emails that we do not intend to post to our website just get brief answers. A more thorough response is that this is an immature Scudder’s Bush Katydid. Your follow-up correspondence struck a chord with us. We find it so admirable that you and your group are taking the time and making the effort to preserve this habitat. We are retroactively posting your letter and photo. There is such a wealth of wildlife in Kardon Park, as evidenced by the slide show, that we are horrified to think that this valuable resource may be lost to future generations. There are so many insects represented on your facebook page, including numerous species of Dragonflies, so preserving this habitat is a very worthy endeavor and it has resulted in our tagging your posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award. We will also be featuring your posting at the top of our website in the hopes that it will generate more publicity for the Save Kardon Park website and we also are also encouraging our readership to send supporting emails for your cause.
I am still at work and, thankfully, I have my own little office.
I received a call from the president of Friends of Kardon Park (FoKP) while I was reading your last note.
I started reading the letter again from the top and when I got to the statement where I had originally stopped,
well…I started to cry. Of course, they were very happy tears. While I was not expecting a letter back, I was
overwhelmed by your kind words of encouragement and especially by the exposure you propose for Friends
of Kardon Park.
The board members of FoKP ( I am VP) will be meeting tonight. I have printed out a couple copies
of our correspondence (no edits…my misspelled “catydid” will be there) so the others can read it.
Besides a donation (there will be) and the advertising on our facebook page, is there anything else we can do to help you?
What’s That Bug? has a large and faithful readership that is interested in habitat preservation as well as the importance of the lower beasts in the intricate web of life on our fragile planet. It would be nice if you continued to send nice photographs of the “bugs” you encounter at Kardon Park to our site, bearing in mind that we are a small operation and we are not able to identify and post all the submissions we receive. Please put Kardon Park in the subject line of each submission you send and it will be sure to get our attention. Try to space out the submissions, bearing in mind that summer months we get the most identification requests. We will continue to do what we can on our end to help your cause to preserve Kardon Park.
Letter 63 – Scudder’s Bush Katydid
Subject: Egg or Parasite?
Geographic location of the bug: Andover, New Jersey
Time: 06:24 PM EDT
Location: Hi Daniel,
Hope you don’t mind a direct email? I was out in my garden this morning and spotted two adult katydids on some sunflowers. The female had what I initially took to be eggs on her abdomen; but now I wonder if this may be some sort of parasite? The images I found of katydid eggs looked much flatter than whatever she’s got. Am enclosing several shots, including one showing both male and female. Any wisdom much appreciated!
Receiving submissions using our standard form is always preferable because it makes posting submissions to our site much easier, but we never ignore direct emails if there is interesting content we wish to post, like this submission. What we do not like are direct email submissions with ten different identification requests combined with no information relative to any particular image. Submissions like that generally go directly into the trash. These are Bush Katydids in the genus Scudderia, probably the Northern Bush Katydid, Scudderia septentrionalis which is pictured on BugGuide. Though the shallow depth of field resulted in the background individual being rendered out of focus, we believe the ovipositor is visible, indicating both Katydids are female. Here is a BugGuide image of a male Northern Bush Katydid. We do not believe the phenomenon you documented is related to parasitism. What you have documented might be eggs, but we are not certain. We have some images of a Bush Katydid laying eggs in our archives, but there is a pronounced lack of detail visible. The Smaller Majority site has some wonderful images of a female Bush Katydid laying eggs. Here is a BugGuide image of the eggs. Insects sometimes expel fluids shortly after metamorphosis, and that is another possibility. We apologize for not providing you with a conclusive response.
Letter 64 – Scudder's Bush Katydid in Mount Washington
Scudder’s Bush Katydid
Location: Mount Washington, Los Angeles, CA
August 1, 2012
Also while spotted trimming the rose bushes is this male Scudder’s Bush Katydid. We spotted it on a cane we were removing, and we made sure to make the cut so as not to disturb this favorite of ours. The number of Katydids we get positively contributes to the Great Golden Digger Wasps we also see each summer.
Letter 65 – Scudder's Bush Katydid in Mt Washington
July 10, 2012
Location: Mt Washington, Los Angeles, CA
This pretty little lady came to the porch light. Moths aren’t the only insects attracted to lights.
We started taking photos indoors through the screen and then moved outside.
Letter 66 – Scudder's Bush Katydid Nymph
May 31, 2010
I noticed these guys on my rose today. They hop and have very long antennae. It was late afternoon and they may have been searching for aphids. I only notice them on the dark colored roses. I live in Lodi, CA (Central Valley)
This is an immature Scudder’s Bush Katydid. Winged adults look like green grasshoppers with long antennae. Katydids eat leaves, and we find that in our own Southern California garden, they like nibbling on rose petals. They never get plentiful enough to be a problem, and we tolerate the Scudder’s Bush Katydids because they are such interesting creatures.
Thanks Daniel. Yes, I read that they eat citrus but I have none on my orange or lemon here in the CA Central Valley. They’re just on the roses. I find them fascinating as well. I love the antennae. Do they eat aphids or are they herbivores?
Hi again Mary,
From all we have read, they are strictly phytophagous, feeding solely on plants, despite that numerous Katydids are predatory or at least omnivorous.
Letter 67 – Scudder's Bush Katydid Nymph
What’s the cute little bug that ate my daylilies?
Location: Blacksburg, VA
October 17, 2010 1:18 pm
This summer, a cute little bug ate my daylilies. (Ok, it did some damage to the flowers, but they only last one day anyway, so I didn’t mind, much.) I only saw it on my flowers in July. I think it was about an inch long at the most. It was bright green with long antenna that were dark with light stripes. It’s legs were green with dark bands and reminded me of a grasshopper, but I don’t think that’s what it is. It had one dark stripe down the middle of it’s back and two thin light green stripes on either side. It had protuding light brown eyes. It was polite enough to pose for it’s picture, so maybe you can tell me what it is. Thanks!
Signature: Karen Ellingson
Your Katydid nymph is that of the Scudder’s Bush Katydid in the genus Scudderia. We located a matching image on BugGuide to support that identification.
BTW, I’m half way through your book and really like it.
Hi again Karen,
Thanks for letting us know you are finding Daniel’s book enjoyable.
Letter 68 – Scudders Bush Katydid Nymph
Subject: What is he or she?
Location: El Cajon California
November 21, 2015 4:37 pm
Hello. This little critter had been hanging out on our rose plant for a couple of weeks. 24-7 he’s there. Never have seen one before. My family and I had been trying to find out what it is. Just a cool little guy and interesting. Been trying to find an app and can’t. Maybe you can help . We live in El Cajon Calif. Just outside San Diego.
This is a Scudder’s Bush Katydid nymph, and they seem to be particularly fond of roses. Though they eat the leaves and petals, we do not believe they do much damage and we permit them to live in our own garden. According to BugGuide: “Most species probably favor foliage of broad-leaved woody deciduous plants, but probably will feed on a variety of other plants. Often (especially nymphs) seen feeding on flowers of assorted, often herbaceous plants.
Letter 69 – Shield-back Katydid or Greater Arid-Land Katydid
Hi Bug Man
This critter was photographed in the Big Bend area of West Texas in Dec 04. Can you ID this fellow? Long antennae suggest cricket to me and abdoman banding suggests Jeruselem, but not really, Can you help?
Thank very much
You have one of the Shield-back Katydids, more specifically Neobarrettia spinosa. Your species is a female recognizeable by her long ovipositor. They are predatory.
Ed. Note: (11/17/2005) Late Breaking Etomological Update
Greater Arid-land Katydid
I think you have a Common name mix up on your katydid page, the latin name is correct. The katydid that you guys called a Shield back Katydid’s common name is actually Greater Arid-Land Katydid, that belongs in the sub-family Listroscelinae (Predaceous Katydids). They are only two species of the genus Neobattettia in the US. The Greater Arid-land Katydid has a black outline on the pronotum, the Lesser Arid-Land Katydid’s pronotum is green.
Letter 70 – Shield-Backed Katydid
Subject: scary bug
Location: campground in San Jacinto, CA
September 16, 2013 11:17 pm
found hiding under the rain fly of our tent
Signature: your choice
The sharp, upturned curve of the ovipositor on this female Shield-Backed Katydid is quite distinctive, yet we cannot match it to any photos posted to BugGuide. Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck.
Letter 71 – Shield-Backed Katydid
Subject: Green with Red Abdomen grasshopper?
Location: Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains (Alpine County)
September 25, 2016 3:18 pm
Hi Mr. Bugman,
I found this grasshopper-like insect in my house in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains this weekend and can’t identify it. The night before I found it, it was making such a loud noise (like a high-pitched humming) that I unplugged the refrigerator to see if it was the refrigerator on the blink that was making the noise!
Can you help me track down what this little critter is? I caught him in a glass (I was kind of skittish to catch him by hand, that looks like a stinger on his hind end!) and released him outside.
Signature: Nona Y.
This is not a Grasshopper. Grasshoppers have much shorter antennae. This is a Katydid, and we believe we have correctly identified it as a Shield-Backed Katydid from the genus Idiostatus based on this BugGuide image. There is another image on the University of Florida Entomology page that is identified as the Unarmed Shieldback, Idiostatus inermis, that looks very similar. What you have mistaken for a stinger is actually the ovipositor of the female and it poses no threat to humans, but large Shield-Backed Katydids might bite.
Thank you so much for your quick reply to my query! So it is a Katydid! I’ve never seen one there before. But I appreciate your help!
Letter 72 – Shield-backed Katydid
Subject: cricket or katydid?
Location: Fort Bragg, CA
August 15, 2017 9:07 am
I came across this cricket or katydid in my field in Fort Bragg California. I tried identifying it using online resources, but haven’t found anything that looks like what I found. It has very long stripped antennae, a shield behind its head and a lovely brown and mottled grey color. I have attached two photos of it sitting on my arm.
Signature: Thanks, Jill
This is a Shield-Backed Katydid in the genus Neduba, as you can see by comparing your individual to this image on BugGuide. According to BugGuide: “Eggs laid in late summer, cemented to plant stems, these overwinter; one generation per year.” Your individual is a male. Female have long ovipositors.
Letter 73 – Shield-Backed Katydid from Otok Hvar
Location: Otok Hvar
June 18, 2016 7:31 am
I have got as far as identifying this bug as a Shieldback Katydid, probably a female, but I am unable to find any photo on line or in my books of anything which is remotely similar in colouring. I wonder if you have any ideas pleas?
Signature: Norman Woollons
Subject: I’ve identified the Katydid Bug!
June 19, 2016 2:10 am
I emailed you yesterday with a photo of a Shieldback Katydid that I found, with the vivid yellow head stripe. I received your automated reply at 16:31.
After a lot more online research, I have now identified it so don’t worry about trying yourselves. It is a Eupholidoptera chabrieri schmidti, and is native to the Adriatic coast.
Signature: Norman Woollons
We are very happy you were able to identify your Shield-backed Katydid, and we want to thank you for following up with us so that we can create a posting. We were away from the office and we are trying to respond to over a week’s worth of identifications that arrived in our absence as well as requests that have come in since our return. We had to research your location and we learned that Otok Hvar is a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea. The Encyclopedia of Life also has an image of this subspecies and Patio Door has some wonderful images.
Thanks for the email and the two links. I wasn’t aware of those websites. Yes, my home is a beautiful island in the warm Adriatic where I have a small fruit farm which borders the Maquis, hence I get all sorts of interesting insects.
Know exactly what you mean about the inbox when you come back from holidays!
Letter 74 – Shieldback Katydid
carnivorous cricket ???
Location: caprock canyon stae park ,texas
April 28, 2012 10:22 pm
We were camping in caprock canyon state park in Texas for the fourth of July weekend in 2010 when we found these bugs. We were catching them and using them for bait. On the last day there we noticed one attacking a grasshoppers and eat it.
We were very shocked to see it do that and have been trying to figure out what they are ever since.
Signature: curiously, Amanda
What you believe to be a Cricket is actually a Katydid. We will contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can identify the species.
Piotr Naskrecki provides an identification
The poor katydid held by his legs and looked upon disapprovingly is Pediodectes, almost certainly P. haldemani. The short winged katydids are Dichopetala, but it is impossible to say which species from the photo (and the male is still a nymph.)
Thank you Piotr. According to BugGuide, they will prey upon other insects: “Omnivorous, will eat plants, carrion, and will catch and eat smaller animals. Often come to lights at night to hunt.”
Letter 75 – Shieldback Katydid from Azerbaijan
Subject: Cricket or Grasshopper
Geographic location of the bug: Azerbaijan
Time: 12:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hello,
I’m not sure if this is a grasshopper or a cricket let alone its species. Also is it a female as it has an enlarged ovipositor? If anyone can help me with the species and sex (if possible) I would be ever so grateful
How you want your letter signed: AM
This is some species of Shieldback Katydid in the subfamily Tettigoniinae and it appears to have several red Mites on it. You are correct that it is a female.
Oh wow thank you very much for such a fast reply and pointing out the mites, we weren’t sure what they were! I didn’t realise Katydids had wings? Out of interest how can you tell the difference between a cricket and katydid? Do you think it would be eating one of it’s own species, do you know in what situation they turn to cannibalism?
Many Shieldback Katydids will eat their own species if necessary.
Letter 76 – Shieldback Katydid from Botswana
Someone sent me this pic from Botswana
Sun, Nov 23, 2008 at 2:26 PM
I don’t have much to go on here. All I know is the photo is from Botswana. Not even sure what part of the country. Thanks in advance.
This is a Shield-Backed Katydid in the subfamily Tettigoniinae. Other than that, we would need the input of someone familiar with the species in Botswana. Some Shield-Backed Katydids are carnivorous, but most are plant eaters.
BTW, I love your site. You guys are what the web is supposed to be.
Letter 77 – Shieldback Katydid from Crete
Subject: Large bug in Crete
Location: Greece (Crete)
June 11, 2013 1:12 am
Interesting site you’ve got there. Would be great if you had an easy way for visitors to narrow down the search by themselves based on different criteria, but I realize that it’s not that easy.
I’ve always been wondering what bug I saw in Greece (Crete), long time ago. It was quite impressive, I guess it was about 10 cm long and it was just deposing eggs on a branch.
I hope you can shed a light on that, but even if you can’t, feel free to use the picture for whatever purpose.
Best regards and success with the site.
We believe this Longhorned Orthopteran is a Shield-Backed Katydid in the subfamily Tettigoniinae, but we have not been able to locate any matching images online that might provide a species name. The swordlike ovipositor is an anatomical feature of the female. We will try to contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can provide a species name for you.
Letter 78 – Shieldback Katydid from France
Cricket, France 2010
Location: Southern France
November 7, 2010 6:29 am
Hi, My daughter discovered this insect whilst walking in the south of France in June 2010. It was walking out of the undergrowth, having just avoided the gardener’s strimmer. Could you please help identify it? Thanks
This is a Shieldback Katydid in the subfamily Tettigoniinae. The lack of an ovipositor indicates this is a male. We will try to determine a species identification for you.
Expert Piotr Naskrecki Responds
This is a male of Barbitistes serricauda (Tettigoniidae, Phaneropterinae).
Letter 79 – Shieldback Katydid from Mexico
Subject: Mexican bug!
Location: Yucatán, Mexico
August 28, 2012 2:38 pm
Hello, I was wondering if you could identify this insect my friends found in their hotel while on honeymoon in Yucatán, Mexico. They said the stinger visible on its end was about an inch long so I suppose it was 4-5 inches in total. Any light shed on its identity would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
This poor creature is a Shieldback Katydid, and for some reason, she has lost most of her long antennae, sensory organs that characterize her suborder, Ensifera, the Longhorned Orthopterans. What your friend has mistaken for a stinger is actually an ovipositor, an organ associated with egg laying. We will see if we can get assistance from Piotr Naskrecki, a Katydid expert, with regards to her species.
Letter 80 – Shieldback Katydid from Spain
Location: Sierra Nevada mountains, Spain
November 3, 2010 3:50 pm
I took this photo last week, 2,550 metres up in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucia. Can you tell me what it is, please?
This is some species of Shieldback Katydid and though they are related to true Crickets, they are classified into distinctly different families. Sometimes the common name cricket is applied to a Shieldback Katydid like the Mormon Cricket that is found in western North America. We will contact Piotr Naskrecki to see if he is able to provide any species information since he is an entomologist who specializes in Katydids. We can tell you that because of her swordlike ovipositor, she is a female.
Update from Piotr Naskrecki
November 7, 2010
My e-mail regarding the Spanish katydid must have gotten lost, somehow; I sent the ID a couple of days ago. In any case, this is a female of Pycnogaster, possibly P. gaditana, judging by the shape of the pronotum (Tettigoniidae: Bradyporinae).
Letter 81 – Shieldbacked Katydid
Orthopteran, short antenae, shield like pronatum
Location: Yakima, WA
October 14, 2010 2:02 pm
Somewhat like a katydid, but short antennae. Pronatum shorter that in pygmy grasshoppers. Sub- adult instar?
Signature: Paul Huffman, President-for-Life, Moclips Surf Club
It appears that your Shieldbacked Katydid in the genus Neduba has been traumatized, hence the clipped antennae. You can compare your image to photos for the genus posted to BugGuide.
Piotr Naskrecki provides confirmation
… whereas the one with a larger pronotum is a male of Neduba sp.
Letter 82 – Shieldbacked Katydid
Subject: Beetle or katydid cousin?
Location: Oregon (foothills of Mt Hood)
October 8, 2016 3:40 pm
What is this? Saw it in a camp lodge east of Portland Oregon. Lots of evergreen trees around and some small meadows.
Signature: Mama B
Dear Mama B,
This is a Shieldbacked Katydid in the genus Neduba, based on this image from BugGuide.
Letter 83 – Shieldbacked Katydid from Washington
Subject: Weird Bug
Geographic location of the bug: Woodland WA
Time: 10:05 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I’ve lived in WA all of my life and never seen one of these before. What the heck is this??
How you want your letter signed: Steve
This is some species of Shieldbacked Katydid, but we are uncertain which. What appears to be a stinger is actually an ovipositor, an organ used by the female in laying eggs.
Letter 84 – Short-Wing Katydids, we believe
What’s that Bug?
Location: Austin, TX
April 28, 2012 10:25 pm
Just found your website while trying to identify this bug that I took a photograph of. While trying to take a photograph of a Cactus Rose from the Prickly Pear Cactus in Austin, Texas, I saw these two bugs that look like they are from the katydid or grasshopper family with their hinged backlegs and long antennae. Any help in identifying this would be helpful as I am going to have this photo published in a book and would love to identify the bug!
Thank you for your help!
Signature: Melissa Wood
Your insects are Katydids and the individual in the center of the blossom is an immature specimen. The second individual is a female based on the presence of an ovipositor. We believe we have identified them as Short-Wing Katydids in the genus Dichopetala based on photos posted to BugGuide. We will try to verify our identification with Piotr Naskrecki, a noted expert on Katydids.
Piotr Naskrecki concurs
The poor katydid held by his legs and looked upon disapprovingly is Pediodectes, almost certainly P. haldemani. The short winged katydids are Dichopetala, but it is impossible to say which species from the photo (and the male is still a nymph.)
I appreciate your help very much. I had no idea how many species of Katydid’s there were until I started trying to search for a picture of this one! My goodness! Thanks for taking the time to get confirmation; please let me know if you do.
Letter 85 – Short Winged Katydid
Subject: What kind of insect is this?
October 5, 2016 2:19 pm
I need to know what is this?
We found a very similar image on the Austin Bug Blog that is identified as a female Spoon-tailed Short-winged Katydid, Dichopetala catinata, where it states: “Females can be almost all green or have extensive dark markings down their back. I’m not sure if it might be a maturity thing, as the final nymph instar is almost as big as an adult female, and the fact that the wings are mere stubs doesn’t help distinguish a fully mature individual. Besides lacking flight wings, these heavy-bodied katydids do not even seem to use their legs much for jumping, and instead tend to move slowly and rely on camouflage for protection. ” We verified that identification on BugGuide. We are confident that the genus is correct, but we cannot say for certain that it isn’t another member in the genus.
Letter 86 – Sierra Shieldback Katydid, we believe
Strange Cricket ID
September 23, 2009
Found this cricket (?) in our barn here in Olympia, WA, this evening. It doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen before. I was by itself in the corner of our barn. I’ve had it i a jar for an hour and no sounds have come from it but it jumps like a son of a gun. It has very long antennae and a tail of sorts.
Sincerely, Cynthe Slaybaugh
We believe you have found a Sierra Shieldback Katydid in the genus Neduba. We are linking to a BugGuide page with a nice image from Oregon that originated as a submission to our own website several years ago.
Awesome! Thank you! Here are a couple more pics. We let her go this morning.
Thanks for sending in additional photos of a higher quality.
Letter 87 – Sooty Longwing
Well I believe this is of the suborder Ensifera but I’m afraid I can’t even identify it to family. It was found in the Tinajas Altas mountain range in Yuma county Arizona singing in an Ironwood at night. Any help in identification would be appreciated. Thank You
We believe that by using BugGuide, we have identified your Katydid as a Sooty Longwing, Capnobotes fulginosus. It is a Shield-backed Katydid, subfamily Tettigoniinae, native to the American Southwest.
Letter 88 – Saddle-backed Bush-cricket from France
15 cm big cricket?
Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 12:18 PM
South of France in August. Photo shows the ”beast” on a laurel branch. Location around the Mont Ventoux.
Location around the Mont Ventoux. Near camping site
This is a Shield-Back Katydid or Bush Cricket in the subfamily Tettigoniinae. We found one European website with images of a species Barbitistes obtusus that look very similar to your specimen. ZipCodeZoo.com gives the common name Southern Saw-Tailed Bush-Cricket, and in France it is called Le Barbitiste Empourpré or Le Barbitiste Empourpr . We also found a BBC page on the Alpine Bush Cricket, Anonconotus alpinus, that graphically chronicles the mating habits of another related species. We have also learned that Bush Crickets are called Wart Biters in English speaking Europe. We are going to contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki for substantiation of the identification.
Correction: Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:52:28
The katydid in the photo is a member of the subfamily Ephippigerinae,
commonly referred to as Saddle-backed Bush-crickets. It is a fairly basal
(“primitive”) lineage of katydids, restricted in their distribution to SW
Palaearctic. They have fascinating reproductive behavior that involves
enormous paternal investment and female singing.
The insect in the photo is in the genus Ephippiger, possibly E. ephippiger,
but two or three very similar species are also known from Provence.
Letter 89 – Speckled Bush Cricket from the Netherlands
Subject: Sitting on my balcony door
November 5, 2012 12:01 pm
Found this glorious bastard, took a bunch of photos, captured it and set it free after I was done with it (alive ofcourse, wouldnt want to kill that).
We did a bit of internet research and we believe we have correctly identified your Katydid on a French web site as a female Sauterelle ponctuée, Leptophyes punctatissima. We cross checked that name on the Harlequin Pictures Wildlife Photography page where we learned the English name Speckled Bush Cricket, a name we verified on the English Country Garden website. The swordlike ovipositor identifies her as a female. Interestingly, we got the assistance of Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki several years ago on a male of the species.
Letter 90 – Steindachner’s Shieldback Katydid: Neduba steindachneri
Subject: Grasshopper Id
Location: Zone 8b
February 17, 2017 3:44 pm
Hi I would like to do a little post on this insect on my blog.I think it’s some kind of grasshopper,I snapped this picture in my state of Oregon zone 8b.I have never seen another so I only have one picture.Thank You Lindsey
Signature: Lindsey Hightower
We are pretty confident we have correctly identified your Shieldback Katydid as Steindachner’s Shieldback thanks to this BugGuide image. According to BugGuide, the habitat is “Woodlands, meadows, deserts”, the food is “Foliage of trees, shrubs” and “Eggs laid in late summer, cemented to plant stems, these overwinter; one generation per year.”
Letter 91 – Straight Lanced Meadow Katydid
Subject: Crickets or Grasshoppers
Geographic location of the bug: Southern Arizona
Time: 10:04 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: We were in southern AZ in October birding, and there were a lot of bugs about. Birding is my thing and those I can ID, but not so much bugs! These guys were all intriguing for their color, their armor, or behavior (some were eating each other). Thanks for taking a look!
How you want your letter signed: Tina
Hi again Tina,
We are finally getting to the third image of an Orthopteran you submitted previously. Though two were Grasshoppers, this third individual is a female Straight Lanced Meadow Katydid, Conocephalus strictus, a conclusion we reached upon locating this image on BugGuide. Most of the individuals pictured on BugGuide are green or brown, but Katydids often appear with unusual colors including pink and yellow. The most obvious difference between Grasshoppers and Katydids is that Grasshoppers have short antennae and Katydids, which belong to the suborder Ensifera, have long antennae.
Thank you for IDing these! The curious side of me wants to know what they are, especially the unusual ones, but the OCD side of me is already IDing birds, and cataloging them by date, ID and location, LOL so I probably shouldn’t wander too far into something else or I’ll go mad! I do appreciate the occasional foray though!
Letter 92 – Superb Katydid from Australia
Subject: Crested Katydid
Location: Western Australia
March 18, 2014 9:43 pm
I took this photo of what I think is a Crested/Superb Katydid in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia. I thought that it looked very interesting and might make a good photo for your website.
Thank you so much for sending in your wonderful image of a Superb Katydid, Alectoria superba, a magnificent Australian species. We haven’t gotten a new image of a Superb Katydid in several years. According to the Australian Museum blog: “Also known as the Superb Katydid, this species is the only member of its genus which means it has no close relatives – which is not surprising as no other type of grasshopper anywhere in the world looks like it. this species is widespread in central Australia but seems to be relatively uncommon. This probably is the effect of the unpredictable seasonal nature of the rains out west. When there have been good rains in the warmer months these spectacular katydids have been found on a variety of plants and in places ranging from remote areas to suburban gardens. Some individuals show more yellow coloration and some appear greener. Little is known of their biology and life cycle but it appears as though this katydid feeds on flowers rather than the foliage of a number of plant species. It will also eat nectar and pollen from the same flowers. The females have a very short ovipositor, or egg laying tube, and as a result they probably stick their eggs to the side of plant stems rather than burying them in bark, or the ground, as do other katydids – but in truth we do not know. Nor do we know what happens to these katydids during excessive or long dry seasons. We don’t even know what the purpose of the strange crest on the back is for, but both sexes have this to an equal degree and it is hollow inside. “
Letter 93 – Superb Katydid from Australia
Location: Latitude = 30 47S Longitude = 121 27E”
September 21, 2011 7:15 am
Found this bug i have never seen before.
Our research indicates that the coordinates you provided places you in Western Australia, and that makes sense since your insect is a Superb Katydid, Alectoria superba, a species found in Australia. We haven’t received an image of this species since 2006 when we received several in rapid succession.
Letter 94 – Sword Bearing Conehead
Type of Grasshopper
August 3, 2010 9:46 pm
Thank you for looking at my photos. Could you tell me what kind of grasshopper is in my photos? He’s about 3” long and has what looks like a stinger coming out of his backside. We live in Cheyenne, WY.
The “stinger” that resulted in the common name of Sword Bearing Conehead is actually the ovipositor of the female. The Sword Bearing Conehead, Neoconocephalus ensiger, is a Katydid and you can read more about it on BugGuide.
Letter 95 – Tailless Whipscorpion and Immature Katydid
question and some pictures for you
I discovered your site today trying to find information on what I now know is a whiptail scorpion I saw in Mexico. My question is regarding daddy long legs. I know what most people refer to as daddy long legs aren’t actually spiders. But I hear and read conflicting information that there is a true grand daddy long leg spider that is the most poisonous spider. Is there any truth to this? I love photography and here are some "bug" pictures I would like to share with you. I will have to search my files and see if I can find others. One more question. What is the bug on the flower?
|Tailless Whipscorpion||Immature Katydid|
Your Tailless Whipscorpion is so cuddly. The insect on the flower is an immature Katydid. We haven’t heard of the poisonous Daddy Long Legs you have referred to.
Letter 96 – Thailand Sylvan Katydid
Found this monster leaf / Tree hopper (?) sitting on my car this morning in Phuket Thailand. I’m assuming it dropped out of the nearby tree where it was probably munching aphids. Looks like a giant pea-pod! Measured 5″ body length and another 4″ for the antenna – total 9″ Can you tell me – What’s that bug! Please. Best regards and thanks for a great website.
This is some species of Katydid. Most are plant feeders though some are predatory.
Update: (07/03/2008) Piotr Naskrecki
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: Thailand sylvan katydid – most likely Cratioma sp.
Letter 97 – Three Shield-Backed Katydids
Subject: Raspy Cricket?
Location: Southern Oregon
September 28, 2013 8:49 pm
Just a few photos of three different bugs. My dog was digging in the Ivy and then a few minutes later these three bugs emerged….all different, but similar. I snapped a few photos of them just before he ate two of them. He does that.
They look like some sort of katydid/cricket….maybe a raspy cricket?
Signature: 🙂 Valerie
All three of your insects are Longhorned Orthopterans in the suborder Ensifera, and we believe all are also classified as Katydids. We believe we have identified one of your photos as a Shield-Backed Katydid in the genus Idiostatus based on photos posted to BugGuide. This genus is found in Oregon, California and neighboring states. We haven’t the time to identify the other two images at this time. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist.
As we were preparing to hit post, we decided to do a bit more sleuthing, and we believe we have identified a Steindachner’s Shieldback, Neduba steindachneri, as well, thanks to images posted to BugGuide. The BugGuide image is of a female with a long ovipositor. Your individual is a male. Your final image might be a Mormon Cricket or other member of the genus Anabrus. There are also nice images of Anabrus species on BugGuide. Katydids are a good source of nourishment.
Letter 98 – Trachyzulpha Katydid from Borneo
Found in Borneo, Malaysia near Sandakar
Hi, I have had these 3 pictures for about two years now and always wanted to identify them but with no success. Having come across your website I wondered if you can tell me what they are apart from a spider, grasshopper and a beatle
We haven’t had much luck identifying your photos. The Unknown Grasshopper is quite stunning but it is not a Grasshopper. It is a Longhorned Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera, and probably a Katydid in the family Tettigoniidae. The beetle is a Cerambycid and the spider is probably the genus Argiope. Perhaps one of our readers will recognize your Katydid and write in with an answer.
Hi Daniel: Regarding the Unknown Orthopteran from Borneo (03/22/2008), I found this photo online that looks like your mystery “grasshopper”. It looks like a Trachyzulpha katydid (Trachyzulpha fruhstorferi). Regards
Letter 99 – Treetop Bush Katydid from Canada
What is this bug?
Location: London Ontario
August 6, 2011 9:59 am
This was attracted to our back-porch light around midnight last night. I think it was eating other small bugs. I don’t think it’s a lacewing. It was about 2” in total length. Sort of looks like a grass hopper. It rubbed it’s 2 inner wings together every once in a while, making a chirping sound.
This is a Katydid, and they can be differentiated from Grasshoppers by their antennae. Grasshoppers have much shorter antennae, and Katydids are classifies as Longhorned Orthopterans in the suborder Ensifera. We believe this is a male Treetop Bush Katydid, Scudderia fasciata, based on this particular image posted to BugGuide.
Letter 100 – True Katydid
Hi – I was wondering if you could help me in identifying this bug? I found it on my zinnia plant – it was the same exact color of the leaf it was sitting on. I could’ve swore it was "hunting" other bugs. Also, LOVE your website! It has been an incredible help to me in identifying many bugs in my garden. Thank you for all your hard work!
This is a True Katydid or Northern Katydid, Pterophylla camellifolia. It ranges from Massachusetts to Florida and west to Texas and Kansas and northeast to Ontario. It feeds on the foliage of deciduous trees. Both sexes make sounds described as either katy-DID or katy-DIDN’T. It is called the True Katydid because it was the first species to have its call transcribed. All that according to our Audubon Guide.
Letter 101 – True Katydid
what is this????
Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 12:21 AM
We found this in our backyard this past summer, it makes a high pitched screech when you get near it, my family and I were wondering if you would know what it is…
The reason your specimen, Pterophylla camellifolia, is known as the True Katydid is because it is the first species in the family to have its song transcribed into the familiar “katy-DID” and “katy-DIDN’T” according to our Audubon Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders. The True Katydid can be visually distinguished from other Katydids by the shape of its wings and the many conspicuous veins which truly give it the appearance of a leaf, aiding in its camouflage. The True Katydid is also somewhat unique in that both sexes call out, while in most Orthopterans, only the male sings. Your specimen is a female, as evidenced by the pointed ovipositor at the tip of her abdomen. The species is more often heard than seen, because of the camouflage as well as their preference for living it the tree canopy. Your specimen seems a bit traumatized, and we are guessing it was perhaps preyed upon by a bird or other predator, and eventually abandoned.
Sex Correction: From a Katydid Expert
Tuesday, February 15, 2009
This is indeed Pterophylla camellifolia, but this individual is a male, not a female. The long element at the end of the abdomen is the subgenital plate. Notice also the brown area at the base of the wings, a part of the stridulatory (sound producing) apparatus.
Letter 102 – True Katydid
Subject: Green Katydid
Location: Byron, IL
August 22, 2013 4:49 pm
Love this site- thank you for all you do!
I noticed this guy hanging on out on our back porch in Byron, IL after a rainy day. I think he is a katydid but all other reference photos show a yellow or brown/ black, is he fresh or something completely different? Thanks again
This looks to us like a male Common True Katydid or Northern Katydid, Pterophylla camellifolia. According to BugGuide: “Forewings form cup over abdomen, many conspicuous veins. Pronotum has two shallow grooves. Both sexes stridulate ‘katy-did, katy-didn’t’ at dusk into night. Song varies geographically.”
Letter 103 – True Katydid
Subject: Creaks like a cicada – but what is it?
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
June 26, 2015 11:08 am
I hear thousands of these at night and have finally seen one in the day. The wings have amazing leaf-like camouflage. It’s head seems smaller than most pictures I’ve found of cicadas.
Signature: Geoffrey Edge
Though it is not related to the Cicadas, this Common True Katydid, Pterophylla camellifolia, belongs to another insect order, Orthoptera, that includes many vocal members, like Crickets as well as a myriad of Katydids. The camouflage is very effective. According to BugGuide: “Forewings form cup over abdomen, many conspicuous veins. Pronotum has two shallow grooves. Both sexes stridulate “katy-did, katy-didn’t” at dusk into night. Song varies geographically.”
Letter 104 – True Katydid
Subject: Need Identification
Location: North Central Texas
June 27, 2015 8:46 pm
Could you please help ID this bug for my ever-curious grandson? It’s about 1.5 to 2 inches long. Photo taken today June 27 after dark.
It may be some kind of katydid.
Signature: G. Keilstrup
You are absolutely correct. This is a True Katydid.
Letter 105 – Truncated True Katydid
On the road again
Driving through the Texas hill country last year these guys were walking across the road. They were all over the place but walking. He stopped in his tracks when I got within 4 feet. I’d guess he is about 3 inches long. I used the zoom feature on my camera not wanting to get any closer. LOL
Last year there was a significant mass emergence of the Truncated True Katydid, Paracyrtophyllus robustus, in this pink/brown variation in Texas. This species is most often green. Before we realized your spectacular photo was a year old, we thought there might be another mass emergence.You can see more on BugGuide. He is a she as evidenced by her swordlike ovipositor.
Letter 106 – Truncated True Katydid
Texas Hill Country bug
June 1, 2010
Saw a fair number of these bugs in Government Canyon State Natural Area, which is just northwest of San Antonio, Texas. Saw it walking on oak trees and in grasses nearby. It’s about 2 inches long. Maybe a roach, but not like any I’ve seen before. Photo is of one on a Juniper tree. If not moving, it can be confused with a brown leaf. Did not see one fly, but it looks like maybe it could. Thanks.
Once we recognized this as a True Katydid in the family Pseudophyllinae (doesn’t the prefix ‘pseudo’ mean false?), we quickly identified it as a Truncated True Katydid or Central Texas Leaf Katydid, Paracyrtophyllus robustus on BugGuide which indicated: “Large concentrations in the canopies of live oak and junipers, producing an amazing chorus at mid-day.” BugGuide also reports that there are periodical outbreaks of great numbers of Central Texas Leaf Katydids and by comparison “Katydids normally sing only at night, but during outbreaks they [Central Texas Leaf Katydids] sing day and night (and how!!!)” A few days ago, we posted a photo of an immature Central Texas Leaf Katydid. We suspect, when they are very plentiful, they provide a valuable food source for many creatures, and that they are probably quite palatable to humans as well. Perhaps David Gracer will comment.
Letter 107 – Truncated True Katydid from Texas
What’s this bug?
Sorry about the 1st email. I’ll send the pic this
time! I know this is in the katydid family but I haven’t seen any on your web page of this color. I live in New Braunfels, Texas out in the country and we always have these every year. Both green and pinkesh. We have soooo many of the pinkesh ones this year. It’s terrible! Are all these females??? I hope not! This – Hide quoted text – year they seem to be worse than usual. There even all over my house (like 30+) it’s horrible!! Thanks for your time and info.
We now know that this is a Truncated True Katydid, thanks to the efforts of Eric Eaton, who got a response from Mike Quinn who forwarded information provided by Bill Carr and Dr. John Oswald. This normally green Katydid has other color variations including this red coloration. Mike Quinn also provided this link: “Dan, Feel free to link/refer to this page: Central Texas Leaf Katydid http://www.texasento.net/robustus.htm Mike Quinn, Austin”
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: Truncated True Katydid – Paracyrtophyllus robustus
Letter 108 – Truncated True Katydid, Not Unknown Shieldback Katydid
Love the site, use it all the time to figure out what’s crawling around our house here in the Texas Hill Country. Recently, we have been overrun with the bug in the attached photo. We find them in the leaf litter in large patches, averaging probably one to two individuals per square foot (it looks like the forest floor is jumping out from under you!). We often have similar looking creatures (usually all brownish, and sometimes green – both of which I believe to be some sort of katydid), but I’ve never seen them in this color before. Any clue? Best,
Dave from Texas
This is sure a gorgeous Shieldback Katydid, but we are unsure of the genus and species. We hope to contact Eric Eaton to get his opinion. You did not indicate if this coloration is an isolated specimen, or if the many individuals you wrote about sport the same coloration. Here is Eric’s response: “You are correct in the identification, but I have no idea what genus or species it is, or why they are so numerous. I will post to my listserv and see if someone else can help “
Update: (06/05/2007) Unknown Shieldback Katydid
Hi there bugman,
An update on the Katydid Nymph photo I sent you all about one week ago (It is currently listed as “Unknown Shieldback Katydid” in the Katydid section). One week later, they have changed into the form as seen in the attached photo. I’m unsure if this will help, but it’s at least interesting. Thanks again,
Dave from Texas
Hi again Dave,
Thanks for the update. We still do not know what species this is, but we will post it back to the homepage.
Ed. Note: (06/08/2007) Eric Eaton sent out the following request:
Dear Friends: My friend Daniel Marlos, who runs the What’s That Bug? website has recently received images of some kind of katydid that is appearing in great numbers in the Texas Hill Country. I have no idea what it is, and can so far find no one else who recognizes it. Please see the images on the “Katydids 2” page. Please feel free to circulate this note to colleagues who are not on this listserv as well. Thank you in advance for any assistance.
Update: (06/08/2007) Mike Quinn answered Eric’s plea:
Here’s your bug. Large numbers are being reported from New Braunfels, Comal Co.; Canyon Lake, Comal Co.; and San Antonio, Bexar Co. These two counties are adjacent.
This morning Debbie Benesh and I went to Government Canyon SNA to look at plants, but a plague of locusts stole the show. Okay, so the insect involved seems to be the pink form of the truncated true katydid (Paracyrtophyllus robustus) rather than a locust. But the plague part sure was accurate. We saw literally hundreds of the beasts, most or maybe all of them feeding on the foliage of plateau live oak (Quercus fusiformis). And we could see only the lower branches of most of those trees. Yikes! I don’t think I’ve ever noticed the species before, and I sure won’t forget it.
Bill Carr, (Texas Nature Conservancy botanist)
Dr. John Oswald, Texas A&M, reported a similar outbreak of P. robustus in 2001 in Lee County (see remarks in following link). Truncated True Katydid, Paracyrtophyllus robustus (Caudell 1906)
Government Canyon State Natural Area, San Antonio, TX
Wildlife Diversity Program
Texas Parks & Wildlife
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: Truncated True Katydid – Paracyrtophyllus robustus
Letter 109 – Two More Katydids from Costa Rica
Subject: What is the common name for this Katydid?
Location: Monteverde, Costa Rica
February 6, 2016 12:36 am
Hello! I took a picture of this katydid at our lodge in Monteverde Costa Rica. I can’t seem to figure out what the common name of it would be. Could you help please?
Subject: Another katydid from Costa Rica
Location: Monteverde, Costa Rica
February 6, 2016 12:43 am
Hello again, I have another katydid that I can’t identify. I took a picture of this one at Cala Lodge in Costa Rica. I think it may be a bush katydid but, not sure. Can you help please?
Hi again Lise,
We have combined your other requests into a single Katydid posting and we will contact Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can identify all your Katydids.
Piotr Naskrecki Responds
Yes, the big, mossy katydid is Haemodiasma tessellata. The smaller one with a sickle-shaped ovipositor is Scopiorinus sp. (impossible to ID to species based on the photos), whereas the bigger green one is a female of Lamprophyllum sp. (most likely L. bugabae).
Wow! Thank you and thank Piotr for the very quick response! It is so nice to be able to get an identification of the insects I’ve found. What an excellent thing it is to have you and your associates as a resource.
Again, many thanks!
Letter 110 – Two Katydids on the same blossom
Subject: Shield backed katydid?
Geographic location of the bug: Newton County Georgia
Time: 10:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Just checking my ID.
How you want your letter signed: Rosmarie
Your image depicts two different immature female Katydids that have not yet grown wings and their respective ovipositors are quite different in appearance. The individual on the left appears to be an immature female Lesser Meadow Katydid in the genus Conocephalus, based on this BugGuide image. According to BugGuide, there are “18 species” that are rather similar looking and “Females oviposit in grass-stems. One generation per year.” We believe your other Katydid on the right is an immature female Bush Katydid in the genus Scudderia based on this BugGuide image. According to BugGuide: “8 spp. in our area” and “Most species probably favor foliage of broad-leaved woody deciduous plants, but probably will feed on a variety of other plants. Often (especially nymphs) seen feeding on flowers of assorted, often herbaceous plants.” Both of your individuals are in the subfamily Phaneropterinae, so they are not Shield-Backed Katydids in the subfamily Tettigoniinae.
Letter 111 – Two-Lined Shieldback
Subject: Hopper insect ID
Location: Rio Rancho, NM
September 26, 2016 7:36 pm
I saw this on our wall outside today. I thought it was a grasshopper, but saw a pic online that resembled it…they said it was a katydid, but the web page was from Australia. Can you id this please? Thank you.
Signature: Paul Diamond
This is a Katydid known as a Two-Lined Shieldback, Eremopedes bilineatus, based on this BugGuide image, but according to BugGuide: “16 spp. in 2 subgenera, all in our area,” though it is the only one of the five species pictured on BugGuide that looks similar. We have no idea what the other 11 species in the genus look like. This might need the input of a Katydid expert, so we will attempt to contact Piotr Naskrecki regarding its identity.
Letter 112 – Sylvan Katydid from New Guinea
Some more great bugs from PNG
April 30, 2010
There are so many awesome bugs here in Papua New Guinea, and I know we’ve only seen the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Here are a few we thought you would like to see.
The first is called, at least locally, a “Christmas spider.” Perhaps you can identify it? They’re rather small – the largest being only about an inch across. The second, some kind of leaf bug? It was about 3″ long, not including antennae. The third, a borer, also about 3″ long not including antennae, which had a spread of about 8″. The spider and leaf bug were photographed near Madang and the borer was photographed in Buka, Bougainville. Enjoy!!
Papua New Guinea
Your leaf bug is a Katydid and we are going to write to Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can assist in the species identification.
Piotr Naskrecki identifies the Sylvan Katydid
This is a sylvan katydid (Pseudophyllinae: Phyllomimini), most likely the genus Heteraprium. This group of katydids of New Guinea is very poorly known, nearly all species of Pseudophyllinae I collected there were new to science, and it is possible that this one is also undescribed.
Letter 113 – Unknown Australian Katydid Killed for Photo Op is Australian Raspy Cricket
I have previously sent you an email regarding this lovely animal. I was in tears as I took the photos (having sprayed it to keep it immobile while I photographed it – sorry). It appears identical to a Weta that you have posted, except that this one has very large wings! Isn’t a “winged Weta” a contradiction in terms? Hope you can help to identify this lovely animal. She was beautiful. Note: It was found on the fringe of the arid lands in South Australia (300 Kilometres North of Adelaide).
We hope your tears are an indication that you will not be killing creatures in the future just to photograph them. This is not a Weta. The long ovipositor indicates the specimen is a female. It is a longhorned Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera, and probably a Katydid in the family Tettigoniidae, but we have not had any luck identifying the species. The Geocities site did not provide any convincing matches. It appears as though the antennae on your specimen have been damaged, either through rough living, or traumatic dying, or possibly post mortem. Grev and Trevor frequently assist us with Australian species, and they may have better luck than we have had with a species identification on this striking specimen.
Update: (07/03/2008) Katydid IDs from Piotr Naskrecki
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: Australian Raspy cricket (not a katydid but a member of Gryllacrididae) possibly Ametrus sp.
Letter 114 – Unknown blue-eyed Katydid Nymph from Costa Rica
Subject: Can anybody help me with the ID of this katydid nymph
Geographic location of the bug: Jacó, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Time: 05:58 PM EDT
I’m trying to find the name of this little bug. It was around 3 cm long. I know katydids are hard to identify and it is even more difficult when they are nymphs, but this one had blue eyes and pronotum. Hope you can help me.
How you want your letter signed: Dariel Sanabria Q. / Artrópodos de Costa Rica
Your image of this blue-eyed Katydid nymph is beautiful. Nymphs can be difficult to correctly identify. We did not have any luck locating any similar looking nymphs on the internet. We will write to Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can provide an identification.
Letter 115 – Unknown Katydid found at Sea is Panama Sylvan Katydid
Enviando por correo electrónico: Casa Pacific..Bugs n’stuff
This critter appeared on our deck this morning. The deck is in Panama on the Pacific coast some 15 km west of the Pan Canal. We would appreciate a name other than ‘whatsit”. Regards,
Jan and David
Hi Jan and David,
This appears to be some species of Katydid. You indicate you are 15 km west of the Panama Canal, but you do not indicate if you are heading toward the canal or away. The Katydid may have come on board elsewhere and just made itself visible and you have not given us any clue as to your other Ports Of Call. Your Katydid strongly resembles an image we received from Australia on December 1, 2007 that was identified as a Prickly Katydid. Did your ship possibly originate in Australia?
Sorry about the confusion. We are on land the deck mentioned is off out kitchen so I think he is a local product. The rains are starting and katydids are in full song. The most common one is the green variety which our cats take delight in bringing in to bed before they devour them. Thank you for the identification. Regards,
Update: (07/03/2008) Katydid IDs from Piotr Naskrecki
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: Panama Sylvan katydid – Acanthodis curvidens
Letter 116 – Unknown Katydid from Belize
Beautiful leaf-like bug
January 5, 2011 12:30 pm
Hi – I found this outside on a wall. I *think* his eyes are near the narrow end? Had he been in a tree, I never would have seen him. What an amazing shape – he really does look just like a leaf! Any idea what he is? Thanks!
This is a Katydid, but we haven’t the time to research the species at this moment. We will try to get assistance from Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki, but we suspect he is on holiday at the moment.
Wow. A katydid? Amazing… The ones I remember seeing, while leaf-like, still had legs and antennae that looked like, well, legs and antennae. This guy didn’t have antennae at all and even his legs were “leaf-like”. (Can you tell *I’m* not an entomologist? “legs”? “antennae?” *laughing*) Hey, I’m still only partly convinced that I can tell where his eyes are.
Anyway, thanks again – at least I know what type he is! (He really is gorgeous.)
Thanks again for your excellent work – love you guys!
Piotr Naskrecki provides an identification
February 9, 2011
The green, leaf-like katydid from Belize is a male of Aegimia sp. (Phaneropterinae). The antennae in this genus are unusually thin for katydids, and in this individual folded backwards to enhance the mimicry of leaves.
Piotr Naskrecki, Ph. D.
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
Letter 117 – Spiny Lobster Katydid from Ecuador
Grashopper from Ecuador
March 29, 2010
hello, this impressive insekt was on a bar table in a jungle lodge in the rainforrest on the napo river in ecuador
ecuador napo river
We are keeping Piotr Naskrecki, and expert in Orthopterans, quite busy today with unknown Katydid requests. We hope he responds soon.
After posting and sending an email to Piotr, we checked our own archives and located the Spiny Lobster Katydid, Panoploscelis specularis, which Piotr identified for us this past December.
The one from Ecuador is indeed Panoploscelis specularis.
Letter 118 – Predatory Katydid from Namibia
Subject: Lange undetermined bug
December 16, 2013 6:19 am
And the last one, before I stop procrastinating:
Some large bug I saw last year at dusk in Namibia.
Looked quite friendly 🙂
Based on what you have written, we suspect there are other identification requests from you in our email inbox, and we can’t imagine how furthering your own education can be considered procrastination. This is a Longhorned Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera, and we are not certain if it can be classified as a Katydid. Since there is no visible ovipositor, we believe this is a male. We will write to Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can supply any additional information.
Piotr Naskrecki provides and identification
This is a male of the predatory katydid Clonia vittata (Saginae). These are fascinating animals, huge sit-and-wait predators. The subfamily has an interesting disjunct distribution and can be found only in Western Palearctic and the southern part of sub-Saharan Africa..
Thanks so much Piotr. We are linking to your Smaller Majority Blog.
Letter 119 – San Jacinto Shield-Backed Katydid
Cricket-like insect, red and black
Sat, Nov 29, 2008 at 8:18 PM
I saw an insect I’ve never seen before while hiking in the San Jacinto Wilderness near Idyllwild, California. I saw the bug this month (November 2008) at an elevation of around 8000 feet. I saw at least five of them scurrying on boulders and through the grass. They normally crawled, but when startled they could jump several times their body length.
The insect’s body strongly resembles a cricket, but I’ve never seen crickets with those colors. Also, all the bugs had their tails pointed up in the air. It looked like they could adjust the angle of their tails.
I’d really like to find out what I saw! Thanks for your help.
San Jacinto Mountains, California
The best we can do for you is to identify your insect as a Shield-Backed Katydid in the subfamily Tettigoniinae. Earlier in the week, we got another different species from Mt. San Jacinto, and when we requested assistance from Eric Eaton, he wrote back: “Could be yet another new species, lots of katydids still undescribed from California.” Eric was going to request assistance from an expert in the Subfamily, and your submission may also benefit from the expert opinion. Often high elevation species have very limited habitats because they are unable to travel from one mountain peak to another, much like island species are limited by geographic obstacles. We hope, in time, to be able to provide at least a genus name for your distinctive Shield-Backed Katydid.
Here is what he had to say about the other two katydid posts….
Sunday, November 30, 2008, 5:25 PM
1. I noticed two new posts about katydids at WhatsThatBug.com – the first
one is another report of the new genus from California (Ted Cohn was going
to name it Jacintobates), …
2. Decticinae had been synonymized with Tettigoniinae by Dave Rentz, only to
be resurrected as a tribe Decticini by Storozhenko. There is no question
that this group is a monophletic lineage, and it is rather irrelevant
whether it is given a subfamilial or tribal status. I am inclined to call
them a tribe, but they appear as a subfamily in many papers.
Update: December 10, 2017
Thanks to a comment from James Bailey, we are able to provide a link to the San Jacinto Shieldback Katydid, Phymonotus jacintotopos, which is pictured on BugGuide.
Letter 120 – Sylvan Katydid from Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica – Manuel Antonio
June 23, 2011 1:18 pm
My fiancée and I were on a tour of Manuel Antonio park on the Pacific side of Costa Rica this June. At the start of the tour I felt something with some size on my bare leg and spastically kicked it off. What landed on the ground was first identified as a spider, then quickly a grasshopper, then soon nothing they had quite seen. The guides took some quick cell phone pictures and I took the attached. I’d say it’s boday was about 1.5 inches.
Signature: Thanks, Seth
This is not a Grasshopper. It is a Katydid, most likely a Shieldbacked Katydid. We will contact Piotr Naskrecki, a Katydid expert from Harvard, to see if he is able to supply a species identification.
Piotr Naskrecki makes correction
Not a shieldback (Costa Rica doesn’t have any), but a sylvan katydid (Pseudophyllinae). This is a female nymph of Balboana tibialis, a large, lowland forest species that is sometimes attracted to lights.
Letter 121 – Shield-Backed Katydid
Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 5:59 PM
I was up rock climbing at Mt. San Jacinto where i spotted this cricket near my partners foot.
Mt. San Jacinto near palm spring
We are pretty certain that this is a Shieldbacked Katydid in the subfamily Tettigoniinae, but we do not recognize the species, nor did we see a close match on BugGuide. If this is a high elevation species, and your letter did not provide this information, then it might not be a well known as species that would be encountered in civilized areas. We will check with Eric Eaton to see if he can provide us with any additional information.
Your ID is correct to family and subfamily (Tettigoniidae: Tettigoniinae), but I have no idea what genus, let alone species. I’ll try to get my colleagues to come take a look. Sure is distinctive (and a male, I can tell that much). Intriguing. Could be yet another new species, lots of katydids still undescribed from California.
Update: November 30, 2008
Here is what the world’s leading authority has to say about the first katydid you asked me about. Great, this time there isn’t even a GENUS name to give you!
This is a well-known (to the orthopterist community), but still undescribed genus of a shieldback katydid (Decticinae.) It appears to be closely related to Neduba. The last person claiming to going to describe it was Ted Cohn of U. of Michigan, but perhaps somebody else is now in charge of this.
Letter 122 – Straight-Lanced Meadow Katydid
An elegant green whazzit
Location: Bethel, Missouri
December 2, 2010 12:04 am
Dear Bugman, Love, love, LOVE your site! I encountered this elegant green ”grasshopper” a couple of years ago at the World Sheep Festival in Bethel, Missouri (Labor Day Weekend). The body was about an inch long. What is it and why does it have such outrageously long antennae?
Signature: N. Fritz
Dear N. Fritz,
This is a Meadow Katydid and Katydids belong to the suborder Ensifera, the Long-Horned Orthoptera, so named because of their long antennae which distinguishes them from Grasshoppers. Your specimen looks like a male Wingless Meadow Katydid, Odontoxiphidium apterum, which we identified on BugGuide. BugGuide states its range is “Southeastern US” and though the examples posted on BugGuide are from the deep south, we know that historically Missouri was considered a southern state. We will check with Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can confirm our identification. Insect antennae are sensory organs.
Correction thanks to Piotr Naskrecki
No, it is not Odontoxiphidium, but Conocephalus strictus (both genera are closely related, though).
We will link to Conocephalus strictus, the Straight-Lanced Meadow Katydid, on BugGuide which is found in “Dry grasslands, old fields with grasses“ in the “Eastern and Central United States.“