Katydid or Cicadas?

Cicadas Bug

Something that’s bothered me since moving to the south has been the confusion that many southerns make between the Katydid and the Cicadas insects. So, I’ve used this photo opportunity to help clear up this classic case of false identity.

The photo you see above is a closeup shot of the outer shell of a Cicadas ( /sɪˈkeɪdə/ ), not a Katydid as many in the Southeast are prone to believe. Here is a brief outtake from the University of Michigan Zooalogy Department website:

Cicadas are flying, plant-sucking insects of the Order Hemiptera; their closest relatives are leafhoppers, treehoppers, and fulgoroids. Adult cicadas tend to be large (most are 25-50mm), with prominent wide-set eyes, short antennae, and clear wings held roof-like over the abdomen. Cicadas are probably best known for their conspicuous acoustic signals or “songs”, which the males make using special structures called tymbals, found on the abdomen. There may be as many as 3000 different cicada species worldwide. Read More

So what is a Katydid?

The Katydid is a member of the Tettigoniidae insect family. Here’s a brief outtake from encyclopedia.com:

Family of ensiferans in which auditory communication is well developed. The ovipositor is sword-shaped. Most species are phytophagous, but some are predatory on other insects. It is the largest family in the suborder, with about 5000 species.

For clarity, here’s a photograph of a local Katydid—notice it’s much more like a grasshopper than the Cicadas.