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!
Signature:  Szabolcs&Susanna

Saddle-Back Katydid

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!

Hi Daniel,
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).

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