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Discover Nature: Katydids

A katydid, disguised as a green leaf, sits on top of a compound leaf.
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. 


Kyle Felling was born in the rugged northwest Missouri hamlet of St. Joseph (where the Pony Express began and Jesse James ended). Inspired from a young age by the spirit of the early settlers who used St. Joseph as an embarkation point in their journey westward, Kyle developed the heart of an explorer and yearned to leave for adventures of his own. Perhaps as a result of attending John Glenn elementary school, young Kyle dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but was disheartened when someone told him that astronauts had to be good at math. He also considered being a tow truck driver, and like the heroes of his favorite childhood television shows (The A-Team and The Incredible Hulk) he saw himself traveling the country, helping people in trouble and getting into wacky adventures. He still harbors that dream.
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