by Carl Strang
One project in my study of singing insects is to learn to identify nymphs, the immature stages, of katydids. This could extend the survey season, as I could begin a month or two earlier than at present. At some point, rearing and taking quantitative measurements will be necessary (unless there is some reference I have not found), but for now I am taking a lot of photos and looking for possible characteristics to watch. I am beginning at Mayslake Forest Preserve, which has relatively few species. Recently the first slender meadow katydids matured and began to sing.
Some of the nymphs I was catching in the sweep net looked like they, too, might be males of this species.
Some of the female nymphs show the same color pattern, though they have undeveloped ovipositors rather than undeveloped cerci.
In contrast, many of the nymphs show color patterns that I suspect tie them to adult short-winged meadow katydids, the other common member of genus Conocephalus at Mayslake.
Females are similar.
Some nymphs are more ambiguous, but most seem to fall into one or the other color pattern, which is encouraging.