Coneheaded Meadow Katydid
Continuing with the insects caught by sweep-netting in the tall grass on August 23, 2012, here’s another kind of katydid.
These are sometimes called “sword-bearers” because of the long, swordlike ovipositor the females have. Luckily for us, she only uses it to lay eggs in plant stems, it’s not as dangerous as it looks.
She looks to be one of the katydids in the subfamily Conocephalinae, the Coneheads and Meadow Katydids. They have heads that come to a point just above the antennae.
This appears to be a not-quite-full-grown nymph, based on her small wing buds. According to “Orthoptera of Michigan”, we don’t have any wingless katydids up here in the UP. Although, I’m seeing some hints that there may be both winged and wingless forms of some of these katydids, so who knows? This complicates identification a bit, because the photos available to compare her with with are almost all winged adults.
I’m kind of torn as to the ID. The coloration looks to be pretty close to that of the Straight-Lanced Meadow Katydid, Conocephalus strictus, but her ovipositor isn’t long enough (although, if she’s a nymph, maybe her ovipositor would get longer on the next molt?). Then again, she isn’t too different from the Slender Meadow Katydid, Conocephalus fasciatus, which is supposed to be the most common meadow katydid in northern Michigan, so the odds tend to go that way.