Round-winged, Oblong-winged, and Angle-wing Katydids:
an overview and comparison
We have three katydid species in our area whose names indicate their wing shapes: the Rattler Round-winged Katydid, the Oblong-winged Katydid, and the Greater Angle-wing. All three are part of the subfamily Phaneropterinae, or “false katydids” (which obviously does not include the Common True Katydid). The bush katydids in the genus Scudderia are also “false katydids.”
All of these katydids are outstanding leaf mimics. While Greater Angle-wings are often too high up in the trees to be seen, the Rattlers and Oblong-wingeds can effortlessly hide right in front of human eyes. All three species typically sing at night, but Greater Angle-wings may sing in the very late afternoon as fall progresses.
Male Rattler Round-winged Katydid
The smallest is the Rattler Round-winged Katydid (Amblycorypha rotundifolia). Its name describes not only the wing shape but also the male’s song, which is a series of rattles beginning with a couple of short ones followed by a considerably longer one. They are found in woodland edges and meadow edges in low shrubs and other lower vegetation.
The Clicker Round-winged Katydid (Amblycorypha alexanderi) looks quite similar but has a very different song. It is found in Ohio, but may not be in our area. As far as I can tell, I have never encountered this species. If you would like to read about this species and see its range map, you can do so here: http://songsofinsects.com/katydids/clicker-round-winged-katydid
Male Oblong-winged Katydid
The Oblong-winged Katydid (Amblycorypha oblongifolia) is considerably larger and is also much more common. They, too, mature in later July – often the third week. Oblong-wingeds can be found in woodland understories, shrubs in edge habitats, and in wetland edges. They fly well and may occasionally show up in meadows. Their song does not resemble that of the Rattler Round-winged, and sounds like “Scritch-IT? Scritch-it-IT?”
The Greater Anglewing (Microcentrum rhombifolium) is the largest of the three and it does indeed have a definite angle to the upper wing. They are strong fliers, and you may see them fly between trees or tall shrubs at dusk or after dark if there’s enough light for you to see their movement.
This is an especially gorgeous katydid. Their wings are green, but sometimes have a bit of a blue tint. They can also appear somewhat speckled.The song is a “tic-tic-tic" series that increases in speed toward the end of the song as the wings move closer together.
The Lesser Angle-wing (Microcentrum retinerve) joins the Greater Angle-wing in central and southern Ohio. Perhaps it will eventually move up to northern Ohio as well. http://songsofinsects.com/katydids/lesser-anglewing
Comparison: Here are the three you can expect to find in our region and when and where to look and listen for them. Remember: with katydids, you'll need to listen for the rhythm, not the pitch. I've made a comparison recording below.
Rattler Round-winged Katydid: Small. Matures the third week of July and sings from low vegetation in woodland and meadow edges. His song is a series of rattles.
Oblong-winged Katydid: Larger. Matures the third week of July and sings from lower trees, shrubs, wetland vegetation (even cattails), and occasional meadow edge vegetation. “Scritch-IT? Scritch-it-IT?”
Greater Angle-wing: Largest. Matures around the second week of August and sings from trees and occasionally from tall shrubs. “Tic-tic-tic-tic-tic…”