green bush cricket

Uploaded 11 Jul 2008
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© Lucy Jackalone
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The family Tettigoniidae, known in American English as katydids and in British English as bush-crickets, contains more than 6,400 species. It is part of the suborder Ensifera and the only family in the superfamily Tettigonoidea. They are also known as long-horned grasshoppers, although they are more closely related to crickets than to grasshoppers.

Tettigoniids may be distinguished from grasshoppers by the length of their antennae, which may exceed their own body length, while grasshoppers' antennae are always relatively short.

The name "katydid" comes from the sound produced by species of the North American genus Pterophylla (literally "winged leaf"). The males of katydids have sound-producing organs (via stridulation) located on the hind angles of their front wings, which in some species produce a sound thought to resemble the words "Katy did, Katy didn't", hence the name. In some species females are also capable of stridulation.

There are about 255 species in North America, but the majority of species live in the tropical regions of the world.

The diet of tettigoniids includes leaves, flowers, bark, and seeds, but many species are exclusively predatory, feeding on other insects, snails or even small vertebrates such as snakes and lizards. Some are also considered pests by commercial crop growers and are sprayed to limit growth. Large katydids can inflict a painful bite or pinch if handled but seldom break the skin.

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