On Their Way North into NE Ohio
There a number of katydid and cricket species who are moving north, and some newcomers are making an initial appearance in NE Ohio. Want to know who to listen and watch for? I'll update this page as there are reports of central and southern Ohio katydids beginning to arrive in our region. Here are two of them:
False Robust Conehead (Neoconocephalus bivocatus)
A False Robust Conehead? Is there a True Robust Conehead? Yes, indeed, and the Robust Conehead (Neoconocephalus robustus) is welcome to stay in southern Ohio. They are way too loud, especially where there are multiple individuals! The False Robust Conehead is loud enough as it is.
This is a new sound for us in NE Ohio. Geauga Park District naturalist Linda Gilbert found the first one we know of at the edge of a cornfield in Geauga County in 2014. Here's a recording of that individual
I subsequently found a False Robust Conehead at Bath Nature Preserve in 2016. They may be scattered elsewhere in the region.
False Robust Conehead, Geauga County (photo by Linda Gilbert) and another in northern Summit County (Lisa Rainsong)
This species is quite common in southern Ohio. They seem to prefer fields, including somewhat shrubby ones. Like the smaller (and much less noisy) Round-tipped Conehead that preceded them on this northward journey, these coneheads can be green or brown. Another characteristic of the False Robust Conehead is that there is no black on its cone.
False Robust Conehead range map, Singing Insects of North America. The single black dot up by Lake Erie is the Geauga County False Robust Conehead.
Keep in mind that the Robust Conehead is excruciatingly loud, while the False Robust Conehead is just... loud. And if you'd like to read an interesting explanation of why this species has "bivocatus" in its name, please see The Songs of Insects description here: http://songsofinsects.com/katydids/false-robust-conehead
If you hear or see one of these coneheads, please let me know at email@example.com post a recording or photo on Singing Insects of Ohio (Facebook).
Lesser Angle-wing (Microcentrum retinerve)
The Greater Angle-wing (Microcentrum rhombifolium) is found throughout Ohio, but the slightly smaller Lesser Angle-wing has been a resident of central and southern Ohio - until now. Thr first Lesser Angle-wings are now in Summit County!
I was very surprised when I heard Lesser Angle-wingeds calling in the trees of my friends' Peninsula, Ohio home in 2019. I recognized the calls because I'd heard them whenever I was in southern Ohio, but this was yet another new sound for NE Ohio. There were a number of Lesser Angle-wings in their trees, not just a couple. I also heard them in the village of Peninsula and other nearby areas in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
I remembered that Cleveland naturalist Chuck Slusarczyk had reported finding one in Cleveland's Tremont area not too far from Lake Erie, but I thought that was just a curious, singular occurrence.
Maybe it was a scout!
Lesser Angle-wing range map from
Singing Insects of North America
Then while leading a singing insect night walk in 2021 at Shawnee State Lodge near the Ohio River, a Lesser Angle-wing flew down from the trees and landed on a participant's camera. Although I'd seen these katydids in southern Ohio, this was my opportunity to record and extensively photograph this beautiful leaf-mimic that was becoming a new neighbor in NE Ohio.
The male Lesser Angle-wing's songs are a sudden, loud, short series of two, three, or occasionally four rapid busts of wing strokes. Our household resident used to start me every time he would begin to make his nightly proclamations. I didn't realize just how loud they are, but this would be why it's relatively easy to hear them up in the trees.
The male Lesser Angle-wing has a dark stridulatory field, as you'll see in the photo. (The Greater Angle-wing does not have a dark stridulatory field.) Male Oblong-winged and Rattler Round-winged Katydids also have dark stridulatory fields, but they are much longer and are triangular or arrowhead-shaped areas.
Male Lesser Angle-wing's stridulatory field
Please notify me if you hear or see either the False Robust Conehead or the Lesser Angle-wing in our region. I would like to keep track of their range expansion!
"Singing Insects of Ohio" on Facebook)