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Curve-tailed Bush Katydid
Female Curve-tailed Bush Katydid

Curve-tailed bush Katydid (Scudderia curvicauda)

Occurrence

Abundant

Habitat

Meadows, wetlands, shrubby areas, woodland edges.

Range

All counties in NE Ohio

Physical description

Rich green leaf mimic with subtle rosy-pink rear legs. Wings are a little longer and more slender than those of the Broad-winged Bush Katydid. The female’s ovipositor has a distinctive curve that gives this species its name. However, the other Scudderia species katydid females will also have curved ovipositors. The distinctions will be in the details of the curve.

Curve-tailed Bush Katydid male
Male's tail plate
Female's ovipositor

Song

Tsit-tsit (pause) tsit-tsit-tsit (pause)…up to four ”tsits” in a row, but not beyond four. These statements are  somewhat slow and very deliberate. There is a crescendo, with the last “tsit” being the loudest and most emphatic.

 

They sing during the afternoon but more frequently after dark until night temperatures become too chilly. I find it difficult to record a counting sequence in the field because I never know when a male is going to begin, and he can waiting for 15 minutes before singing another sequence, or start again in a few minutes just as a sword-bearing COnehead begins singing right next to him.

Below is the song of an Curve-tailed I brought home for two nights so I could record him here. His typical pattern was to count one-two-three and then sometimes repeat three.. I'd occasionally heard him count up to four in the field but that was not typical for this individual. Here's a photo of him in the terrarium he visited here, a sonogram that shows two of his counting sequences, and a recording a recording of three of them.

Curve-tailed Bush Katydid 1-2-3 counting pattern repeated three times - Recording by Lisa Rainsong
00:00 / 00:00

Adult season

Third week of July well into October.

General description and context

This is our most abundant bush katydid. Like other Scudderia, this species will sing from lower in the vegetation and may ascend as high as the tops of flowers and even cattails to sing at night. Look for them in shrubs as well.

Curve-tailed Bush Katydid male

Field observation

On several occasions, I have seen both Curve-tailed adults and nymphs eating common milkweed leaves. They are not known to do so, but they somehow tolerate this unexpected food source.


 

Curve-tailed nymph eating milkweed

Songs of Insects

http://songsofinsects.com/katydids/curve-tailed-bush-katydid

You can hear a Curve-tailed counting sequence here

Singing Insects of North America

http://www.entnemdept.ufl.edu/walker/buzz/061a.htm