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Montana Field Guides

Texas Bush Katydid - Scudderia texensis

Native Species

Global Rank: GNR
State Rank: SNR

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General Description
The following is taken from Rehn and Hebard (1914), Hebard (1928), Blatchley (1920), Helfer (1971), Vickery and Kevan (1985), Bland (2003), Capinera et al. (2004), Elliott and Hershberger 2007, Himmelman (2009), and Scott (2010). The wings and legs are bright grass green and glossy with a pale-yellow line running along the lateral edges of the pronotum (in some specimens this feature may be very faint or missing). The pronotum is longer than wide, narrower anteriorly and widening posteriorly. The hind femur is very slender with 3 or 4 minute spines on the ventral edge. The female ovipositor is sharply curved upward at a 90° angle, distinctly broader at the base than in the middle. Sometimes the hind legs, abdominal segments, and female ovipositor are accented with varying amounts of purple or rufous, and some late-season adults can be entirely colored in this way, especially after a frost, and be mistaken as a different species.

Calling song description
Stridulation is generally louder, more harsh, and produced more slowly than those of other Scudderia species. Songs have been verbally described as: (1) “During the day, the male’s song lasts about ¾ second and sounds like a sharp ‘skee-deeck.’ This sound is produced at irregular intervals and perhaps only a few times in an hour. At night the sound is similar but given at regular intervals and drawn out to somewhat over a second with a slight pulsating effect” (Bland 2003); (2) “There are two principal song types that are given both day and night. The more common is a brief shuffling rattle made up of three or four lispy notes that are delivered too fast to count. A less common song pattern is a series of about fifteen lispy notes, given too fast to count, that rise in volume from beginning to end” (Elliott and Hershberger 2007); and (3) “This species has three very different calls. One sounds like a very sped up, but quieter version of a true katydid and is given at night. The individual notes (three or four) merge to sound something like ‘zi-di-dit.’ The dusk call consists of a series of wet ‘ticks’ and the day call is a varying train of rapid ‘zits.’ The female also gives a quiet, lispy tick. Calls day and night” (Himmelman 2009).

This species overwinters in the egg stage. Nymphs hatch in mid-June or July and adults can be found from mid-July to mid-September, sometimes to mid-October, depending on frost occurrence (Vickery and Kevan 1985, and Bland 2003).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The following comes from Rehn and Hebard (1914), Hebard (1928), Blatchley (1920), Helfer (1971), Vickery and Kevan (1985), Bland (2003), Capinera et al. (2004), Elliott and Hershberger (2007), Himmelman (2009), and Scott (2010). The body length to end of forewings is 21-25 mm for males, and 24-28 mm for females. Pronotum (thorax) is longer than wide, 5.5-6.5 mm in both sexes. The tegmina (forewings) in males is 31-39 mm, and in females 28-38 mm, with the hind wings extending about an additional 6 mm beyond the tegmina. The width is 6.3-8.5 mm. The female ovipositor is 7-8 mm (refer to illustrations on the S. furcata page).

The three Montana species, referred to as “Bush Katydids,” are rarely, if ever, confused with other katydid genera. However, within their own genus, it can be difficult to identify each species. The best “fool-proof” character for these species’ identity rests with the shape of the males’ genitalia at the tip of the abdomen, specifically the dorsal view of the apical U-shaped or forked notch of the supra-anal plate (refer to illustrations on S. furcata).

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
The Texas Bush Katydid occurs from southern Quebec, Ontario, and most of Maine, southward to Florida, the Gulf Coast states, and Texas. From east to west, a dipping line along the northern edge of Wisconsin, central Minnesota to southeastern Montana, then angling southeastward through the Great Plains and across the eastern half of Texas to the Gulf Coast. Despite its common name, the Texas Bush Katydid is not limited to that state and its greatest concentration of reports occurs in the tri-state area of Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, and throughout Florida. In Montana, it has been reported from four southeastern counties (Vickery and Kevan 1985, Capinera et al. 2004, Elliott and Hershberger 2007, Scott 2010, and Walker SINA website 2020).

The following is taken from Blatchley (1920), Vickery and Kevan (1985), Bland (2003), and Himmelman (2009). The Texas Bush Katydid is considered less arboreal than any other species of katydid, where it is commonly found clinging to tall course grasses and sedges growing near the edges of wetlands, lakes, ponds, damp ravines and amid prairies, meadows, weedy fields, roadsides and fencerows. When disturbed, it flies a long distance, silently in a zig-zag manner to another clump of grass or weeds. This species has been observed congregating in small colonies of 6 or more individuals in favored microhabitats.

Food Habits
To date, no detailed food habits have been reported in the literature for this species but are probably similar to those of other Scudderia species. It has been cited as doing damage to cranberry crops (Rehn and Hebard 1914).

Reproductive Characteristics
Detailed studies and observations are currently wanting in the literature regarding this species’ courtship, nuptial gifts, etc. but probably similar to that of Fork-tailed Bush Katydid (Scudderia furcata). The Texas Bush Katydid produces one generation per year at northern latitudes, two at southern. Like S. furcata, egg deposition by the female is done by inserting her curved, knife-like ovipositor between the two epidermal layers of a leaf’s edge, splitting the layers. The eggs are so thin that they are barely visible unless held up against a light. They are loosely inserted into the pockets created by the female’s ovipositor, and as they swell upon coming into contact with the ruptured tissues of the plant, the eggs are tightly held in place (Blatchley 1920, and Vickery and Kevan 1985).

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Citation for data on this website:
Texas Bush Katydid — Scudderia texensis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from