Katydids are insects that are closely related to crickets and grasshoppers. They are bright green in color. This is their natural camouflage, as it helps them blend into plants and leaves. Katydids are most often found in the treetops where there are many leaves. They inhabit areas with lots of vegetation including forests, thickets, and grassy fields. They are known for the loud sounds they make. Katydids have a lifespan of about a year or less.
Katydids mate during the late summer months and sometimes into early fall. Male katydids make noise by rubbing their wings together to attract a mate. In some species of katydid, including angular-winged katydids, the female insect responds to the male's noise with noise of its own. During mating, the male inserts a jelly-like substance containing semen into the female's body.
After mating, female katydids lay their eggs on plant stems or in the ground. The female katydid uses an organ on her abdomen called a ovipositor. This organ helps her inject her eggs into the plant stem or the ground. The katydid's eggs are gray in color and oval in shape. They measure approximately 1/4 inch in length.
Katydid eggs stay in the ground through the winter months and then hatch in the spring. The baby katydids that emerge from the eggs are called nymphs.
Young katydids, or nymphs, look similar to adult katydids, but they do not have wings. Like many other species of insects, the nymphs go through several molts--the shedding of their hard, outer layer--during growth. Nymphs usually undergo their final molting stage after 60 to 90 days.
Adult katydids feed on many types of leaves, especially those found on deciduous trees such as oak leaves. Though adult katydids do have wings, they usually do not fly unless they feel threatened. Instead, they walk along the ground or climb along tree trunks and branches. Most species of katydid have a lifespan of less than one year.
- Fairfax County Public Schools: True Katydid: Pterophylla camellifolia
- Bio Kids: Katydids: Tettigoniidea
- University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources: Seasonal Development and Life Cycle-Katydids
- Woodland Park Zoo: Animal Fact Sheets: Angular-winged Katydid
- Austin Bug Collection: Tettigoniidea: Katydids
- Insect Identification: Details of the Katydid
Mary Sharp has been writing professionally since 2007. Many of her articles appear online, specializing in the diet and habitat of wild animals. Sharp has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Texas and is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in English at the University of North Texas.