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Katydid (Pterophyla camellifolia)

Katydid. Photo from http://www.leaps.ms

Katydid (Pterophyla camellifolia) Photo from http://www.leaps.ms

The katydid’s wings resemble a leaf that operates as excellent camouflage in the tops of deciduous trees (especially Oak & Hickory) where they spend most of their lives. They can only fly short distances. They eat leaves, flowers, bark and seeds but some species are omnivorous and also eat other insects. In Kansas they are found mostly in the eastern third of the state.

Its “Katy-did, she-did” chirping is created by the male rubbing its wings together (stridulation). The male uses wingstrokes to rub a scaper on the base of one front wing over a file on the base of the other front wing. They are capable of hearing through a tympanum located just below the knee on their front leg.

Before dying in the early frost of October or November, the female lays rows of dark grey, oval-shaped eggs on vegetation.

The eggs survive the winter and hatch in the spring. The young are similar to adults but have less-developed wings. They begin chirping around July. Although they resemble grasshoppers, katydid are more closely related to crickets. Katydids have much longer antennae than grasshoppers.