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Discover Nature: Katydids

A katydid, disguised as a green leaf, sits on top of a compound leaf.
Jim Rathert
Katydids join the chorus of nighttime sounds on hot summer nights in Missouri. Listen for their raspy mating calls from treetop perches this week.

If you’ve stepped out to enjoy the night air lately, you’ve likely noticed a loud newcomer to the chorus of night sounds. This week on Discover Nature, listen for the nocturnal chorus of katydids.

Close relatives of grasshoppers, many species of katydids call Missouri home – each with very different characteristics.

The northern, or common true katydid has long, slender legs, and large veined wings resembling green leaves, although a genetic mutation causes some specimens to appear pink.

Males rub their wings together to produce a distinct, loud, raspy mating call – like singing, “Katy-did… Katy-didn’t.”

Katydids join the summer symphony on hot July nights, but are rarely seen until autumn when cooler weather makes them clumsy and they fall from their treetop perches.

In autumn, females lay eggs in tree bark where they overwinter and hatch the following spring.

Katydids are leaf eaters and provide an important food source for birds, snakes and other predators that hunt in treetops.

Learn more about katydids with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide.

Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

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