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by Valerie

June, 2007

Truncated True Katydid

truncated true katydid

After our very, VERY wet spring, there has been abundant leaf growth on plants, which in turn has resulted in a healthy population of various herbivorous insects. Katydids are always fairly numerous in our area, but this year the truncated true katydid (Paracyrtophyllus robustus) is more evident than usual. One of the few species in the "true katydid" subfamily, this katydid (also known as the central Texas leaf katydid) has a short, wide body, rather truncated wings, and incessant loud call that we've been hearing every night for weeks. These insects feed on the leaves of trees, usually high in the canopy, and rarely descend to the ground. When they are found, they are not as active as the katydids of other subfamilies and don't tend to hop long distances or fly. Their large size and heavy weight could easily account for this.

Although I've only seen a couple of these katydids, and usually just hear single insects in our yard at night, this species has been known to have sudden population explosions and defoliate entire oak trees. Several years ago, this happened in a few neighboring counties, with post oaks being the target of the hungry katydids. While the single insects I've found have been green, the majority of the explosive populations are brown or even pink.

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