Meadow Katydid Nymphs

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.

Mature male slender meadow katydid. Note the long wings, green cerci at the abdomen tip, and the green femurs with lines of tiny, separated black dots.

Some of the nymphs I was catching in the sweep net looked like they, too, might be males of this species.

This nymph likewise has green cerci, though not yet in adult form, and green femurs with tiny, separated black dots.

Some of the female nymphs show the same color pattern, though they have undeveloped ovipositors rather than undeveloped cerci.

Again, a bright green general color with tiny black dots on the femurs.

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.

Note the browner ground color, the many brown dots, the yellow-brown cerci, and especially the femur with its central clear zone bounded on each side by a brown band.

Females are similar.

Again the green is paler, and the femur shows the same striping.

Some nymphs are more ambiguous, but most seem to fall into one or the other color pattern, which is encouraging.

1 Comment

  1. July 21, 2012 at 5:27 am

    love meadow crickets… especially the way they fly.

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