A New North for Nebraskas

by Carl Strang

The Nebraska conehead is a katydid whose northern range limit is within the Chicago region.

Nebraska coneheads can be green, like this one, or brown. The entire underside of the cone is black.

This insect of forest edges and open woodlands sings at night, its high-pitched buzzes readily audible through the window of a moving car. It is common and widespread in the southern counties of the Chicago region, but becomes less abundant, and more locally distributed, farther north. Entering this year, I had found it in nearly all the southern counties. There was a record in the literature for McHenry County, Illinois, but I had not found it there or in neighboring Lake County. I made it a focus for this year’s searching, and was able to complete the map. On July 30 I heard them in both the Lake and McHenry County portions of Chain O’Lakes State Park. I tried to find them in northern Lake County, Indiana, on August 2, but was unsuccessful. On August 11 I found a group of them a short distance north of the southern Lake County border.

Here’s another view.

Chain O’Lakes State Park is not far from Wisconsin, so on August 18 I drove the rural roads of southern Kenosha County, just north of the park. Though the habitat looked suitable in places, there were no Nebraska coneheads. They are already vanishingly thin in Lake and McHenry, so this was not surprising.

The Chicago region range map for the Nebraska conehead. Black dots indicate the counties where I have found the species. The red star marks Chain O’Lakes State Park, the northernmost known location in the region.

For my purposes, I am satisfied that I can close the book on Nebraska coneheads and focus on other species.

 

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1 Comment

  1. September 7, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    I just have to say that I really like the title of your post as well as the content!


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