Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Short-Winged Meadow Katydid

The Short-Winged Meadow Katydid (Conocephalus brevipennis) belongs to the family Tettigoniidae and the subfamily Conocephalinae which are the meadow katydids. There are 39 species of meadow katydids in the United States and Canada with 19 species in the genus Conocephalus. They are smaller, slimmer katydids than their cousins in the genus Orchelimum which also has 19 species , the last remaining katydid in this subfamily is the wingless meadow katydid (Odontoxiphidium apterum).

The short-winged meadow katydid is small at about 1/2 to 1 inch in length. What they lack in size they make up for in beauty. Their bodies are a kaleidoscope of of orange, brown, yellow, and greens. As their name suggests their wings are short and barely extend halfway down their bodies. Although there are a few specimens that will have longer wings that extend nearly to the tip of their abdomen.

Males have two little appendages at the tip of their abdomen (shown to the right). Females will have an ovipositor protruding from theirs that is used for depositing eggs in the ground after mating. By August these katydids have reached their adult-size and will begin calling for mates, singing out day and night. Eggs will overwinter in the ground and hatch in the spring. As soon as the ground warms in the spring the eggs hatch and the young katydid nymphs will emerge from the soil and begin feeding. These tiny offspring are almost mirror images of their adult counterparts.

You can find them in grasslands, prairies, meadows and other grassy or weedy areas, especially near swamps, creeks, and other damp areas. They are native to the Eastern and Central North America from South Dakota to Maine.

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