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Broad-winged Bush Katydid

Broad-winged Bush Katydid (Scudderia pistillata)

Occurrence

Common

Habitat

Meadows, wetland edges, and shrubby areas.

Range

All counties in NE Ohio.

Physical description

These beautiful leaf mimics are the rich green of early and mid summer. All the Scudderia are among our larger katydids, and all blend very well with their plants. The Broad-winged's upper wings (the tegmina) are not quite as long as those of the other Scudderia, but are wider and look more rounded at their ends. The females have wide, curved ovipositors.

Female Broad-winged Bush Katydid
Female's ovipositor
Male's tail plate

Song

There is a "day song" and a "night song." The night song is a counting sequence that begins with just two or three “dsips” and sequentially increases up to as many as seven or more. “Dsip dsip…dsip dsip dsip…dsip dsip dsip dsip…”, etc. It is not so literal that the male will always increase by just one more “dsip”, however. He may choose to repeat one or skip one.

The day song sounds like a short, soft, little drum roll. It’s actually several “dsips” in very rapid succession.

The recording below has first the day song, then the night song. Somewhat surprisingly, both were being given by the same individual in the same song session. The solid bar of color at the top of the sonogram is Sword-bearing Coneheads.

Broad-winged Bush Katydid day songs, then night songs - Recording by Lisa Rainsong
00:00 / 00:00

Adult season

From the last week of June or first week of July into early August. Listen for them to begin singing within a week of the first Gladiator Meadow Katydids. They overlap with Curve-tailed Bush Katydids in mid-July and occasionally may briefly overlap with the Texas Bush Katydids of late summer before being replaced by them.

General description and context

One might not expect that a substantial insect who sings with considerable regularity would be so difficult to find! They generally sing from well inside their vegetation during the day but will ascend to more accessible parts of their plants after dark.

Similar species

The Curve-tailed bush Katydid matures two or three weeks after the Broad-winged Katydids begin to sing, and they will be found in many of the same habitats. The Broad-winged’s wings are rounder and not quite as long as those of our widespread and abundant Curve-tailed Bush Katydids, who will appear a little longer and slimmer.

The Curve-tailed’s song is shorter and simpler than the Broad-winged – it does not exceed four “Tsips” and is a bit more penetrating in its tone quality. The Curve-tailed also sings the same song both day and night.

Future field observation

Most of this katydid’s range is to the north of our area. It will be interesting to see how far south they can actually be found in Ohio and whether their southern boundary recedes with continued climate warming.

 

Listening in Nature post:

https://listeninginnature.blogspot.com/2014/07/did-i-just-hear-katydid-back-there.html

Songs of Insects:

http://songsofinsects.com/katydids/broad-winged-bush-katydid

 

Singing Insects of North America:

http://www.entnemdept.ufl.edu/walker/buzz/066a.htm

Dew-drenched female Broad-winged Bush Katydid