“Katie did. No, she didn’t. Yes she did! No, she didn’t”
That is the nighttime cacophony of August from high atop the trees. The Katydid is an insect heard more often than seen. Their chorus is well known, especially to campers enjoying s’mores by the fire, but perhaps not so if you are holed up with the AC cranked. In that case, I beg you to go outside; the Perseid meteor shower is well worth it!
Katydids are related to crickets and grasshoppers. They are masters of camouflage as evidenced by their genus name, Pterophylla, which translates from Greek to “wing-leaf”. Katydid wings do look remarkably like a leaf, right down to the venation. They rub their wings together to make the Katie-did sound to attract a mate. There are organs on their front legs which function as “ears” to hear each other.
Katydids, for the most part, reside in the deciduous canopy which explains why they are not observed frequently. They feed on leaves and, at over two inches in length, make a fine meal for a bird, bat or other hungry critter in the treetops. The females are laying eggs which will hatch next spring as nymphs.
Enjoy the peak of summer while it’s here: pick blueberries, eat native corn, go for a swim, look for monarchs, roast some marshmallows, watch the meteor shower and listen to the ceaseless argument of whether Katie did, or didn’t.