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Drumming Katydid

Drumming Katydid (Meconema thalassinum)

Occurrence

Occasional

Habitat

Trees, and it can also be found on human structures such a porches and sheds.

Range

Cuyahoga, Summit, Geauga, and likely other counties in northeast Ohio as well.

Physical description

These attractive little European katydids are small and have long wings. Notice the long cerci that meet in the back; this is unlike our native katydids and certainly confused me the first time I saw one of these insects. I am including them here because you may well encounter them and have difficulty identifying what insect this is. I certainly puzzled over this one when I'd find it in our yard or on our porch.

Here is the characteristic color pattern (left) and the female's ovipositor. I seem to see more females than males.

Song

Males drum with a hind foot on a leaf or other surface, but I have not actually heard this and have not heard a recording. The song is reported to be audible from close range.

Adult season

They seem to appear for a short time in mid-July.

General description and context

This is a non-native European species, but I’m not aware of their causing any harm. They were introduced in New York and have spread to the Great Lakes region. They have also been reported in the Pacific Northwest. 

Field and backyard observation

I typically find one on the front porch wall or ceiling every July. (There are two large oaks by the house, and in Britain, they are called Oak Bush-crickets). I saw one on an urban henhouse, found one on my car, and one near the compost bin. I have found a couple on park shelters and once found one in a meadow.

For more information on these katydids please see Singing Insects of North America:

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/Walker/buzz/103a.htm