Female Katydid, and Katydid Nymph

2012 July 21

We found this on a tomato plant on August 6, 2010.

It’s another female katydid, like the one I posted way back in September 2007. These pictures are a bit better than my previous attempt, though, so I thought it was worth posting this species again.

I believe that this is one of the False Katydids, subfamily Phaneropterinae, and it looks to me like a Round-Headed Katydid, genus Amblycorypha. Although it could be one of Scudder’s Bush Katydids (genus Scudderia), or maybe even an Angle-Wing (genus Microcentrum). They all camouflage themselves as leaves, which means that they all look a lot alike.

It’s certainly a female, as she has that characteristic curved ovipositor at the tip of her abdomen. It is shaped like that so that she can insert it into the edges of leaves so she can lay her eggs.

These next two pictures clearly show the ears on her forelegs. These are tympanums kind of like an eardrum. This is only one of many different methods that insects use to detect sounds. It looks like most insects hear based on vibrations of hairs, of their legs, and of their antennae, but the lineages that need high sound sensitivity have independently evolved tympanums for more sensitive hearing. These include crickets and katydids (ears on their legs so that females can hear males calling), cicadas (ears on their abdomens so they can hear mating calls, where the ear on the female is derived from the same structure that the males use to make their sounds), and some moths (tympanums on their lips so that they can hear the ultrasonic sounds from hunting bats).

In addition to the adult, here’s a katydid nymph from July 20, 2011 that may or may not be the same species. It was caught with a sweep-net while we were out collecting food items for the praying mantis that we had at the time. The nymphs change quite a lot as they grow, so they often don’t look much like the adults.

And if anyone was wondering whether those long legs on a katydid are a bit fragile, the answer is “yes”. It had both of its jumping legs buckled when it was swept up in the net.

I expect that it would have needed to wait for its next molt to completely heal the leg bends. I say “would have” because it didn’t get a chance – the mantis ate it almost immediately after I took these pictures.

One Response
  1. July 21, 2012

    The eyes are all wrong. Someone needs to go back and complain to the Design Department.

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