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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Slender Meadow Katydid - Conocephalus fasciatus

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR


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General Description
The following is taken from Rehn and Hebard (1914), Blatchley (1920), Helfer (1971), Vickery and Kevan (1985), Bland (2003), Capinera et al. (2004), Elliott and Hershberger (2007), Himmelman (2009), and Scott (2010). The meadow katydids are sometimes called “long-horned grasshoppers” due to their long antennae. Meadow Katydids in the genus Conocephalus are small and generally called the “lesser meadow katydids with body lengths of 12-17 mm,” whereas those in the genus Orchelimum are larger in body form and referred to as the “greater meadow katydids” with body length of 18+ mm (not including the female ovipositor length for both genera).
As its name suggests, the Slender Meadow Katydid body is small, slender, and grass green with a dorsal brown stripe bordered by whitish-yellow down its back. The dorsal surface of the abdomen is colored with a yellowish wash. The wings extend well beyond the abdomen and hind femur. The female ovipositor is straight, slightly angled upward and with two-thirds of the tip tinged with reddish-brown.

Calling song description
Verbal descriptions are: (1) “The soft calling song of males is a buzz lasting 10 to 30 seconds, with faint ticks between buzzes” (Bland 2003). (2) “A series of soft, ‘locomotive-like’ ticks, followed by a sustained, sputtery trill” (Himmelman 2009). (3) “Soft sound, noticeable only a few feet away, usually less than two feet above the ground; 10-30 second buzzes, with 10 to 25 ticks between them; a tiny, slender, long-winged insect” (Alexander et al. 1972). (4) “To…find a singing male by homing in on his faint, high-pitched song is a challenge. Quiet, warm, sunny afternoons are the best time…Males are more easily collected by using an insect sweep net in areas of tall grass…An evenly spaced series of clicks or tsips followed by a faint, clicking purr or trill…” (Elliott and Hershberger 2007).

Phenology
This species overwinters in the egg stage. Adults occur from mid-July to mid-October, sometimes longer depending upon time of first killing frost. This species is the first among the katydid family to reach maturity and begin singing, and sometimes gathers in large singing colonies (Blatchley 1920, Vickery and Kevan 1985, and Himmelman 2009).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The following comes from Rehn and Hebard (1914), Blatchley (1920), Helfer (1971), Vickery and Kevan (1985), Bland (2003), Capinera et al. (2004), Elliott and Hershberger (2007), Himmelman (2009), and Scott (2010). The male body length is 12-13.5 mm, and for females 12-14.5 mm. Male pronotum (thorax) length is 3-3.5 mm, and for females 2.8-3.2 mm. The male tegmina (forewings) is 14-18 mm, and females 15-19 mm. The male hind femur length is 11-12 mm, and females 11.5-13 mm and ovipositor is 7.1-10.6 mm.

The three species of Meadow Katydids occurring in Montana are fairly easy to identify. The Slender Meadow Katydid is the smallest (also amongst all species in the katydid family) and the only one in the state with wings longer than the body. The most significant morphological characters for species ID are by examining and measuring the female ovipositors and comparing the male cerci. Refer to the illustration box.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions

Native
 


Range Comments
The most widely distributed and frequently collected Conocephalus species in North America. It ranges from coast-to-coast in all 48 states and the across the southern third of all Canadian provinces. In Montana, it has been recorded for 20 counties, but probably occurs throughout the state (Vickery and Kevan 1985, Scott 2010, and Walker SINA website 2020).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 21

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

Recency

 

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



Habitat
The Slender Meadow Katydid inhabits a variety of habitats in upland fields, roadsides, damp locations bordering wetlands, ponds, and along waterways where tall grasses and rank vegetation occurs. This species generally prefers damp locations (Vickery and Kevan 1985, Bland 2003, Capinera et al. 2004, and Himmelman 2009).

Food Habits
The Slender Meadow Katydid favors a mixed diet of grass flowers, seeds and insects. It has been observed feeding on small moth larvae and other small insects (Vickery and Kevan 1985, and Bland 2003).

Reproductive Characteristics
To date, no detailed studies nor observations specific to this species have been found within the published literature. For an excellent perspective of katydid and cricket reproductive behavior, refer to the volume by Darrell Gwynne (2001).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Slender Meadow Katydid — Conocephalus fasciatus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from