Insect identification > Orthoptera > Green grasshoppers / katydids

Green grasshoppers / katydids

Green grasshoppers / katydidsFamily Tettigoniidae (the green grasshoppers and katydids). - A part of the insects of this family are called green grasshoppers, long-horned grasshoppers or meadow grasshoppers, while others are the katydids.

Their tarsi consist of four segments. Most of them are green in color, and all have antennae longer than their bodies. Some of the katydids have broad forewings and these live among trees and shrubs, feeding on the leaves and even on the more tender twigs. Others have narrow forewings and appear to prefer bushes or tall weeds and grass as their abiding places.

The meadow grasshoppers resemble the narrow-winged katydids but average smaller and are most abundant in fields and pastures, particularly where the grass is thick and tall. In most members of the group the ovipositor is long or at least large enough to be quite noticeable.

Some of the tettigoniids are wingless and come out only at night, hiding under logs or stones or in dark places during the day. They are of various shades of brown or gray, and the species found in different parts of the country vary much in appearance. They are called "wingless grasshoppers," "camel crickets," "shield-backed grasshoppers," "Jerusalem crickets," etc., according to their kind and the local usage.

Sound in this family is produced by the males. The base of the forewing is modified, not necessarily in the same way in all the species, but in such a manner that rubbing these wings together will produce a sound. The organ of hearing is a small, oval membrane located near the base of the tibia on each side of the front leg. Inside the membrane are a hollow space or resonance chamber and a nerve supply. The sounds made by these insects are produced chiefly toward evening and at night, though in dense woods they may sometimes be heard earlier in the day.

The members of this group are rarely serious pests, though katydids have been known to injure orange groves and presumably some forest trees suffer more than is generally realized, when these insects are abundant. One exception to this general unimportance of the family is met with in the case of the wingless species known as the "western cricket" or "Mormon cricket" (Anabrus simplex Hald.), which in some of the Western states may be a serious crop pest.