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Gladiator Meadow Katydid

Gladiator Meadow Katydid (Orchelimum gladiator)

Occurrence

Common to abundant

Habitat

Wetlands, pond edges, wet meadows.

Range

All counties in our region.

Physical description

A substantial, bright green meadow katydid with bright yellow cerci. Their eyes are especially beautiful. Like all Orchelimum, this katydid is noticeably larger than the Conocephalus meadow katydids.

Song

A few rather slow, separated “tics” are followed by a long whirr that gradually increases in volume to the end of the song. Their songs are much more audible than the songs of the Conocephalus meadow katydids. They sing in the afternoon and at night.

Gladiator Meadow Katydid - Recording by Lisa Rainsong
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Adult season

Last week of June until early August

General description and context

Their songs - especially in a chorus - are peaceful, like an inhale and a long, slow exhale. Each July, I am reminded that they are far more difficult to see than I think should be the case. They match the color of their vegetation, and they typically sing from the opposite side of the plant stem from where a human is looking. Sometimes their long antennae may give them away, so watch for them! I’ve noticed that they will use invasive reed canary grass, at least for song perches, but neither they nor anyone else uses phragmites.

Similar species

There is very little overlap with the other Orchelimum meadow katydids because Gladiators are so early. A late Gladiator may overlap with a Common Meadow Katydid in a grassy meadow, but the Common’s song has quite a few metallic “tics” at the beginning and a does not have the same soft, swishy tone quality of the Gladiator.

Field observation

Gladiator Meadow Katydids sing until about the time that their Black-legged Meadow Katydid cousins take over at the beginning of August. Although they live in many of the same habitats, very seldom have I found both species singing at the same time. The Black-legged is also much more colorful. Please see - and hear - the comparison recording and photos on the Meadow Katydid Introduction page.