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Katydids

Most people know that katydids exist, but not many people can explain exactly what they are or what they look like.  Yet at the same time, most people have seen katydids, often without recognizing what they’re looking at.  That’s because katydids look like leaves.  Big, green leaves.

Katydids are green in color and are shaped like a grasshopper or cricket with the long legs that can be used for jumping.  Although they have a long green body made up of wings with veins that are similar in appearance to a leaf, the katydids do not fly in the sense that a winged creature flies.  Using their wings, they can float downwards, crawl or jump.

Katydids are nocturnal animals, meaning they eat, mate and move most often at night.  They look like crickets or grasshoppers because they are related.  They are mostly found in areas with lots of shrubbery or brush and can hide easily within the green leaves.

They can grow up to 4 inches long and have two antennae on the top of their head.  The antennae can grow twice as long as their body.  When Katydids mate, they attract the opposite sex by rubbing their wings together.  The sound they make almost sounds like fingers running quickly through a small-toothed comb.  The katydids hear the mating call with ears that can be found on their front legs.  Outside of mating, katydids are solitary creatures and are not usually found in groups.

They lay eggs on the underside of leaves in a straight pattern.  The eggs almost look like white pumpkin seeds lined in a row.  Although they hatch from eggs, the katydid nymph actually looks like an adult without the wings.  As it grows, it sheds its skin.  The average lifespan of a katydid is about a year.

Katydids are considered pests because they eat greens in the garden. When it comes to citrus growers, the broadwinged katydid is considered a true pest, as it eats the leaves of the citrus trees.  If the trees are young, broadwinged katydids can cause enough damage to kill the tree.

Some species are also considered beneficial because they eat other pests.  Katydids (eggs, nymphs and adults) are all tasty treats for other animals, including birds, wasps, spiders, frogs, bats and spiders.

They are called katydids because they make chirping sounds that almost sound like the words ka-ty-did.

Katydid fun fact:  Every now and then a katydid is born without pigment.  Interestingly enough, the katydid without pigment is not white or clear – it is PINK!

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