Top Photo: Angle-wing katydid (Microcentrum retinerve).

Katydids belong to a group of insects known as Orthoptera which references the straight or parallel-sided aspect of their wings (ortho = straight, ptera = wing). This group includes grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, and katydids. You can usually distinguish katydids from the others by their longer antennae, though some types of crickets do indeed have long, thin sensory appendages.

There are many kinds of katydids. The two mentioned here are an angle-wing katydid and a meadow katydid. Angle-wing katydids are tree katydids, their wings modified to look very much like the leaves of the plants that populate their preferred habitat, that is, trees and shrubs. Two locally common angle-wing katydids are greater angle-wing katydid and lesser angle-wing katydid. Pictured here is a lesser angle-wing katydid.

Lesser angle-wing katydid.
Lesser angle-wing katydid on post in Hideaway Woods (note long antennae).

Greater angle-wing katydids are larger than lesser angle-wing katydids. And, if you can get a look at the top of the insect, the front edge of the pronotum (saddle-like structure just behind head) has a point, or “tooth,” where the lesser angle-wing katydid does not.

Lesser angle-wing from above.
Greater angle-wing katydid would have point, or “tooth” where arrow is.

Lesser angle-wing katydids are residents of southeastern North America though they can be seen as far north as New Jersey and Illinois.

Handsome katydids (Orchelimum pulchellum) are meadow katydids. They too fit well into their preferred habitat, cryptically blending into their surroundings. In this case, herbaceous plants are the favored habitat.

Handsome katydid on primrose willow.
This handsome katydid is munching on a primrose willow flower.
Note blue eye of handsome katydid,

Though katydids are mostly leaf eating insects, they also eat other parts of plants, stems, flowers, and stalks. Less frequently, they may eat insect eggs and other insect larvae and adults, such as slow moving aphids.

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