Slender Conehead

by Carl Strang

The next species in my series on singing insects which may occur in northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana but which I have not found is the slender conehead. Here is the range map from the Singing Insects of North America website (SINA).

This appears to be another example of a species better represented by the dots on the map, which indicate concrete observations, rather than by the shading that connects them. The notes on the SINA page for this species refer to its disjunct populations. It is described as a species of bogs and marshes, and its song apparently is a continuous buzz like that of the round-tipped conehead.

Over the years the slender conehead has been found repeatedly in 3 counties in northern Illinois: Cook, Lake, and Carroll (the last in NW Illinois). It also was found once in Porter County, Indiana, in 1935. Likewise, all Illinois records are 1935 or older except for one undated record for Lake County and one for Carroll.

So far, every conehead population I have encountered has consisted of widely scattered individuals. For a species to persist in a narrowly defined habitat like a bog or a marsh, I therefore would expect the geographic extent of the marsh to be fairly large, to sustain a big enough population of slender coneheads to resist local extinction. Thus at some point I should seek out large marshes in the counties where the slender conehead has been found in the past. Perhaps the best starting point is the Indiana Dunes State Park (in Porter County), which has extensive marsh and bog areas that are relatively high in quality. It goes on my list for next year.


  1. Gideon Ney said,

    March 14, 2012 at 9:53 am

    I am a graduate student in the Division of Biological Sciences at The University of Missouri, where our lab studies communication and novel trait evolution in the genus Neoconocephalus. My research plans for this summer, like yours, includes collecting and identifying N. lyristes. My plans are to collect specimens from the great lakes area as well as from New Jersey. I would be interested in discussing with you some of your data on emergence times for Neoconocephalus in your area and possible locations for lyristes collection in NE Illinois and NW Indiana.

  2. August 14, 2012 at 8:29 am

    […] which they had not yet studied is the slender conehead, Neoconocephalus lyristes, and Gideon found my post in this blog on that species last winter. There I mentioned my interest in finding lyristes, and we corresponded through the […]

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