The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Katydid

Edition of 1879. See also Tettigoniidae on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

KATYDID (cyrtophyllus concavus, Scudd.), an American grasshopper, named from the sound of its note. It is about an inch and a half long, the body being an inch, pale green, with darker wings and wing covers; the thorax is roughened, and is shaped somewhat like a saddle; the wing covers are longer than the wings, and enclose the body in their concavity, meeting above and below like the valves of a pea pod. This “testy little dogmatist,” rendered familiar by the verses of Holmes, is one of the loudest and most persevering of our native musicians; silent and concealed among the leaves during the day, at night it mounts to the highest branches of the trees, where the male commences his sonorous call to the noiseless females. The sound is produced by the friction of the taborets in the triangular overlapping portion of each wing cover against each other, and is strengthened by the escape of air from the sacs of the body, reverberating so loudly as to be heard a quarter of a mile in a still night. These insects are now comparatively rare in the Atlantic states, but in some parts of the west their incessant noise is almost insupportable to those unaccustomed to it. The perfect insect lays her eggs in September and October, depositing them in two contiguous rows along the surface of a twig previously prepared by her curved piercer; they resemble tiny bivalve shells, of a slate color, about one eighth of an inch long, and are eight or nine in each row; the young escape through a cleft in one end; the eggs are sometimes placed in nests in the earth, where they remain till spring; they are eaten by beetles, earwigs, crickets, ants, &c. The young are said to be injurious to roots of grasses and grains; the adults eat the interior of flower buds and the germs of fruit. Though found on almost all trees, the balsam poplar is a special favorite. They are called grasshopper birds by the Indians, who are in the habit of roasting and grinding them into a flour, from which they make cakes, considered by them as delicacies. The katydid is interesting in captivity, and will live thus, if fed on fruit, for several weeks; like other grasshoppers, after the warm season they rapidly become old, the voice ceases, and all soon perish.

AmCyc Katydid.jpg

Katydid (Cyrtophyllus concavus).