Green coloring and veined fore wings help katydids easily disguise themselves among leaves.
Disguised in the Leaves
Also called the “northern katydid,” the true katydid is in the family of long-horned grasshoppers, though it is more closely related to crickets. The species is leaf green and grows to one and a half to two inches in length. The fore wings are convex and oval, crossed by “veins” that closely resemble the veins of leaves, helping to disguise the insect. Found from Ontario south to Florida, west to Texas and Kansas, the true katydid primarily inhabits the crowns of deciduous trees in forests, parks and yards. Because it only inhabits deciduous trees and is mostly flightless, populations are discontinuous.
The katydid is named for its song, which has been described as “Katy-did, she-did.” The longer “Katy-didn’t” is rarer. Scientific literature makes no mention of what exactly it is that Katy did or did not do. The exact song made by the rubbing of wings is distinct between populations across the insect’s range.
The female lays eggs in crevices in bark and on stems. The eggs overwinter and then hatch in the spring. The young feed on surrounding foliage, as do adults, and most likely never leave the tree on which they are born. They begin calling around July, then die in the frosts of October or November.