Straight-lanced Meadow Katydid
Straight-lanced Meadow Katydid (Conocephalus strictus)
Uncommon and very local in drier areas or sandy soil.
They live in grasses in scattered sandy or dry upland locations - drier habitats than the other Conocephalus meadow katydids in our region. I regularly find them at the North Kingsville Sand Barrens close to Lake Erie in eastern Ashtabula County and at Sandy Ridge Reservation in Lorain County near the parking area. I occasionally encounter them in other places as well, but they are not a species I expect to see.
Lorain, Lake, and Ashtabula counties, and possibly other scattered locations with suitable conditions. Google map: Straight-lanced Meadow Katydid locations.
Straight-lanced Meadow Katydids look a bit more substantial than Short-winged or Slender Meadow Katydids. Their diminutive wings -even smaller than those of the Short-winged Meadow Katydid - reveal a dark stripe down their backs. Straight-lanced Meadow Katydids have visibly longer cerci than Short-winged or Slender Meadow Katydids, and females have very long ovipositors.
Female Straight-lanced Meadow Katydid's long ovipositor
Male Stright-lanced Meadow Katydid's cerci (the projections at the end of the abdomen).
He is singing in this photograph.
A very high, soft whirr that will alternate between a fast, dense whirr and a somewhat slower one that is more like a soft rattle. This change can happen without an audible pause as the entire song continues uninterrupted. They sing at night and possibly in the afternoon.
Beginning of August until frost.
General description and context
These katydids seem to occur in small, scattered groups and are not widespread like Short-winged or Slender Meadow Katydids.
I found a colony of Straight-lanced Meadow Katydids in an unexpected area on the Geauga/Lake County border: the former borrow pit for a now-closed Lake County landfill. It’s mostly gravel, though there is a little soil around the edges where the katydids live in grass and somewhat sparse, low vegetation.
The wings of Straight-lanced Meadow Katydids are even shorter than those of the Short-winged Meadow Katydid. They also don't have dark yellow at the ends of their abdomens that one would see on Short-wingeds. The only other meadow katydid with a very long ovipositor is the Long-tailed Meadow Katydid, which is a wetland species that has a reddish body.
Lake County Metroparks biologist John Pogacnik discovered a small population of Straight-lanced Meadow Katydids that range from brown to very dark brown. Although the color is quite different, the songs and the cerci are a perfect match for the common green form. You can read more about them in Listening in Nature. (see below).
Listening in Nature
Songs of Insects
Singing Insects of North America