Honoring and preserving our connection with nature

June 05, 2020

The Invisible Garden: Katydids

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The Invisible Garden: Katydids

Here at the botanical garden, our guests come in many forms. Some have two legs and others have four, six, eight or 1000! That’s right, I am talking about our insect, spider, centipedes and millipede guests. This week, get to know Katydids with volunteer Ryne Ortega! 

“Tettigoniidae, more commonly known as Katydid are a common sight all around the world, save Antarctica. Here we see two Katydid nymphs, the juvenile form of the insect. Katydids are masters of disguise. Typically, Katydids camouflage themselves by resembling leaves or other bits of plant material. These nymphs, however, are brightly colored and definitely stand out! That is because they are not trying to blend in, instead, they are mimicking the assassin bug, a ferocious predator that other insects know to stay away from! The nymph will undergo multiple molts, when they shed their hard exoskeleton in order to grow, over the course of several months. After the final molt, the Katydid will be too large for many predators it was trying to fool, so it will take on a form that is a near perfect copy of a leaf. In fact, you may have passed by many in the garden without ever knowing that they were there! Mating season is during the late summer to early fall, and you will know it when you hear it! Just like their close relatives, the grasshoppers and the crickets, the male Katydids will put on a performance to try attracting a mate. This is done by rubbing its wings together in a certain pattern. After mating, the female Katydid will deposit her eggs into or onto leaves, depending on the species. The eggs will take three to four months to mature. During this time, the adult katydids will die off, either being eaten or by natural causes. This makes room for the next generation in the following spring.”

Thank you, Ryan, for teaching us about the Tettigoniidae! Be sure to check out our new segment “The Invisible Garden” every Monday on our social media.

By Hannah Stein

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