Monday, October 5, 2009

Nature Guide: Angular-winged Katydid

This Angular-winged Katydid appeared in the front garden today. Our Nature Guide Jon Latimer was there to check it out and gives us some information about katydids.

"Katydids are nocturnal insects related to crickets and grasshoppers. They are big and green and have large hind legs and extremely long, threadlike antennae. They also have wings but are poor flyers. When they fly, they hold their wings in a glider-like position and flutter downward. When they reach the ground, they walk to a nearby tree and climb up its trunk.

"Katydids are most abundant in the tropics, but the eastern United States is home to over 100 species. They live in trees, such as cherry, oak and maple, or on bushes or grasses. They feed on the foliage of the plants they inhabit.

"The name katydid comes from the male's repetitive rasping song on summer nights, which sounds like it is calling 'katydid, katy-didn't.' The song is made when a male rubs his forewings together (called stridulation) like a bow on a fiddle. Katydids hear through a structure called a tympanum, which is located on each foreleg. Because they are nocturnal, katydids are frequently heard but seldom seen.

"Katydids produce one generation each year. In early fall females deposit 100 to 150 oval eggs in lines on leaves or branches, or in the crevices of bark. The eggs last through winter and the young appear in early spring. They resemble adults but are smaller and lighter colored."