Chasing Coneheads 3: Slightly Musical Conehead

by Carl Strang

After finding all the slender coneheads Gideon needed, we drove around to assess the scope of their distribution at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. They proved to be abundant in the Great Marsh and other places. We heard other familiar singing insects as well. Then we heard a new one at another wetland, unfamiliar to me but well known to the Missouri grad students. We stopped and found one. This was the amusingly named slightly musical conehead.

This marsh katydid has an interrupted song that to my ear has the rhythm and tempo of a snowy tree cricket but with buzzes rather than clear toned chirps.

The slightly musical conehead has the most magnificent cone structure of all the North American species.

The cone is huge, and black on the length of its underside.

To me the most amazing feature of this species is its synchronized singing. All the males in an area sing in unison. When we disturbed the one we were stalking, he paused only for a few seconds and then started up again in rhythm with other males in earshot. “They must sing,” said Gideon, who also shared the information that this species avoids spots that have other conehead species with continuous songs.


  1. August 21, 2012 at 5:41 am

    […] when I returned at night I was pleased to find a population of slightly musical coneheads, which I first had encountered in the previous week at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Unlike the mole cricket, as mentioned in yesterday’s post, the slightly musical conehead has a […]

  2. August 23, 2012 at 6:14 am

    […] Published accounts don’t show marsh coneheads this far north in Indiana. The same was true for slightly musical coneheads. Consequently I did not have either species on my hypothetical list for the region. Do these […]

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