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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Gladiator Meadow Katydid - Orchelimum gladiator

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status


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General Description
The following is taken from Blatchley (1920), Alexander et al. (1972), Vickery and Kevan (1985), Bland (2003), Elliott and Hershberger (2007), Himmelman (2009), and Scott (2010). This is a medium and robust katydid which is aptly named “gladiator.” The body color is bright green and accented with reddish eyes which are darkened toward the front. A brown stripe, with 2 narrow diverging black lines occurs across the dorsal surface of the head and pronotum, which is relatively long with deep lateral sides. The tegmina (forewings) of the female slightly surpasses the hind femur tip but is distinctly longer in males. The male abdominal tip and cerci are bright yellow. The antennae, tarsi, and tip of the female ovipositor dark brown to reddish. The legs are often speckled with dark dots.

Calling song description
Verbal descriptions are: (1) “The song, a series of buzzes lasting up to 5 seconds and usually interspersed with ticks…the buzz does not become louder toward the end…” (Bland 2003). (2) “…buzzes not noticeably louder toward their ends, males may omit the ticks from their songs at night” (Alexander et al. 1972). (3) “A series of ticks followed by a long shuffling trill that starts soft and quickly gains in volume…In areas with dense populations, choruses have a unique wavering quality” (Elliott and Hershberger 2007). (4) “Several ‘tsicks,’ followed by a sustained, soft whir that grows louder toward the end. As with most of the Orchelimum, they will sometimes just ‘tick.’ Calls day and night” (Himmelman 2009).

This species overwinters in the egg stage. Adults occur from the end of June to the end of September (Bland 2003).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The following comes from Blatchley (1920), Alexander et al. (1972), Vickery and Kevan (1985), Bland (2003), and Scott (2010). The male body length is 17 mm, and female’s 18-20 mm. The male pronotum is 4.3-5 mm, and female’s 4.7 mm. The male tegmina (forewings) are 19-23 mm, and female’s 19-21 mm. The male hind femur is 12-14 mm, and female’s 15.5-17 mm, the ovipositor is 10 mm. The male cerci has the tip portion beyond the tooth equal to or shorter than the basal portion before the tooth (see illustration box to compare male cerci and female ovipositor morphology and size).

All the Meadow Katydids can be confused with each other. The best method for identification is to compare the measurements and forms of the female ovipositors and male cerci. Refer to the illustration above and the “diagnostic characteristics” section above.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
The Gladiator Meadow Katydid occurs in a geographical band from the mid-Atlantic and New England states, westward across the southern latitudes of the Canadian Provinces to Saskatchewan where the range bends southward across mid- Washington, all of Oregon and northern border of California. From the north, it extends southward as far as northeast Iowa, across to New Jersey. It is common and widespread over most of its range. In Montana, this species has been reported for 7 counties, but may be more widespread (Vickery and Kevan 1985, Scott 2010, and Walker SINA website 2020).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 6

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

This species inhabits the wet, moist edges of marshes, prairies and damp meadows with tall grasses and sedges (Vickery and Kevan 1985, Bland 2003, Elliott and Hershberger 2007).

Food Habits
To date, no detailed studies nor observations specific to this species’ food habits have been found within the published literature. Its diet is probably similar to that other species in the subfamily Conocepahlinae.

Reproductive Characteristics
To date, no detailed studies nor observations specific to this species have been found within the published literature.

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Citation for data on this website:
Gladiator Meadow Katydid — Orchelimum gladiator.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from