Sunday, August 18, 2013

Rattlers in the Bushes!

It seems to be a very good year for Rattler Round-winged Katydids here in NE Ohio!  I’ve been hearing this pretty little katydid almost everywhere I go in Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, and Summit Counties.   If you don’t know them, let me introduce you!

The Rattler Round-winged Katydid – Amblycorypha rotundifolia – is a resident of edge habitat.  I find them in woodland edge and occasionally in meadows, where they call from lower shrubs, and herbaceous plants.  Like many katydids, they are easier to find my ear than to locate visually.  I often hear them sing a couple of shorter “rattles” before a concluding long rattle.  Here’s an example:

However, the shorter ones can be of varying lengths and there can be several of them.

When the temperature drops – as has so often been the case this summer – the song will be slower.  Here’s a Rattler singing at about 62 degrees:

If you do manage to locate a singing male, notice the attractive brown stridulatory field.  This is where the music happens! 

Now look at the closeup of a stridulatory field in action.  One wing has a file and the other has a scraper.  In katydids the left wing is over the right (right over left in crickets) and you can actually see that in this photo.

You’ll also see a comparable (and even darker) area on their larger cousins, the Oblong-winged Katydids (Amblycorypha oblongifolia).   You won’t find this on the females, but the body shape and small size will help you identify them. 

According to Lang Elliott and Wil Hershberger in The Songs of Insects, “Females are more bluish than the males, and they have prominent upturned, serrated ovipositor.”   Here’s a photo of a female nymph I found in Summit County on 7-14-13.  She really is a lovely bluish green. 

Even her ovipositor has the same lovely color and speckling!

I heard quite a few in Geauga County last night (8/17/13), so they are still abundant.  Keep listening, and I hope you find one!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Lisa! You solved the mystery of the Unidentified Singing Critter I was trying (unsuccessfully) to identify last night (Naturealm). Very cool clips.