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Insects in the family Tettigoniidae are commonly called katydids or bush-crickets. There are more than 6,400 species. Part of the suborder Ensifera, it is the only family in the superfamily Tettigonioidea. The name is derived from the genus Tettigonia, first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1748. They are also known as long-horned grasshoppers, although they are more closely related to crickets and weta than to any type of grasshopper. Many tettigoniids exhibit mimicry and camouflage, commonly with shapes and colors similar to leaves.
Description and life cycleEdit
Tettigoniids may be distinguished from the grasshopper by the length of their filamentous antennae, which may exceed their own body length, while grasshoppers' antennae are always relatively short and thickened.
The males of tettigoniids have sound-producing organs (via stridulation) located on the hind angles of their front wings. In some species females are also capable of stridulation. The males provide a nuptial gift for the females in the form of a spermatophylax, a body attached to the males' spermatophore which is consumed by the female. The function of the spermatophylax is to increase the attachment time of the male's spermatophore and thereby increase his paternity.
The eggs of tettigoniids are typically oval shaped and laid in rows on the host plant.
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, but population densities are usually low so a large economic impact is rare. Large tettigoniids can inflict a painful bite or pinch if handled but seldom break the skin.
The reproductive behavior of bush crickets has been studied in great depth. Studies conducted in 2010 at the University of Derby by Karim Vahed, Darren Parker and James Gilbert found that the Tuberous Bushcricket (Platycleis affinis) has the largest testes in proportion to body mass of any animal recorded. They account for 14% of the insect's body mass and are thought to enable a fast re-mating rate.
Tettigoniidae is a large family and has been divided into a number of subfamilies:
- ↑ (1998). The function of nuptial feeding in insects: A review of empirical studies. Biological Reviews 73 (1): 43–78.
- ↑ Bush crickets. BBC Nature. URL accessed on 25 November 2013.
- ↑ Tree of Life project. URL accessed on 25 November 2013.
- ↑ (2010). Larger testes are associated with a higher level of polyandry, but a smaller ejaculate volume, across bushcricket species (Tettigoniidae). Biology Letters 7 (2): 261–4.
- Black-sided meadow katydid - Conocephalus nigropleurum - diagnostic photographs
- BugGuide.net--family Tettigoniidae
- Singing Insects of North America (SINA) website.
- Bug guide.net-- Pink Katydid
- North American Katydids, with range maps and audio files of katydid songs.
- NYC Cricket Crawl Sept 11 2009 katydid and cricket counting collaboration
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