Short-winged Meadow Katydid
Short-winged Meadow Katydid (Conocephalus brevipennis)
Generally abundant. Widespread throughout NE Ohio
All counties in NE Ohio
Small meadow katydid with a dark stripe down its back that is visible because of the short wings. Golden brown abdomen. The female’s ovipositor resembles a blade that angles slightly upward.
Slow, deliberate tic-tic-whirrr. The number of tics is variable. The song may seem soft and difficult to hear because the frequency is quite high. They sing in afternoon and at night.
Although the songs are loud, look at how high they are! They're at the top of what my equipment registers and also at the upper levels of what humans can hear.
Very common in meadows, edge habitats and wetland edges, and less common in grassy pastures.
Early August until well into October and even November.
General description and context
As you get to know this species, note how the color changes throughout the season. They become more colorful or even much browner as fall progresses. Late-season individuals can almost appear to be a different species. The male and female below were photographed on October 27th.
If you are out in a park or another property after dark, you may see many of these katydids – including very tiny nymphs – ascending to the tops of very tall grasses to feast on the seeds. And although seeds – even large ones - are a major part of their diet, I once saw a female Short-winged Meadow Katydid eating a damselfly!
Slender Meadow Katydids have long wings and their bodies – including cerci – are green. Straight-lanced Meadow Katydids also have short wings – even shorter that Short-wingeds, in fact - but their abdomens are not dark yellow or orange at the end. The shape of the cerci (the projection at the end of the abdomen) is also diagnostic.
There is actually a long-winged form of the Short-winged Meadow Katydid! The male will still have his butterscotch-colored abdomen and the female will have the distinctive blade-like ovipositor that is angled slightly upward.
Listening in Nature
Songs of Insects
Singing Insects of North America