Katydid

What exactly are Katydids?  Most people have probably never heard of them.  Even when seen, they are thought of as grasshoppers or crickets.  Indeed they are very similar but are in a different family than “true crickets”, they are also known as bush crickets and long-horned grasshoppers (again, they aren’t technically grasshoppers, that’s just a bad common name).  Katydids are in family Tettigoniidae, the easiest way to distinguish them from “true” crickets or grasshoppers in the field is to look at their antennae.  First look at the insect, if it looks like a grasshopper or cricket, that’s a good starting point.  Some Katydids also look a lot like leaves.  Katydids always have very long antennae.  If the antennae are longer than the whole body (and often held backwards over the main body for easy comparison) then you’re looking at a katydid.  If the antennae are shorter, the animal you’re looking at is either a true cricket or a grasshopper.  One big reason for the long antennae is that Katydids are usually nocturnal, although I’ve also seen them very active in caves in the day time.  Antennae help the Kaydids find their way in complete darkness where eyes are useless.  Below are some of my favorite pics of katydids I saw in the cloud forest in Ecuador.

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