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Katydid - Summer Music Maker

Updated on August 25, 2016

I don't like bugs. Even the harmless are usually too creepy crawly for me. But I do love katydids. Katydids have several things going for them. Their brilliant green color makes them attractive to the eye. They don't bite or sting. Best of all katydids bring music to the night, often commanding the chorus of summer evenings. The sound evokes memories of open windows before air conditioning and falling asleep to nature's lullaby. Once the katydid's song is no longer heard, we know the quiet of winter has settled the land.

Katydid Facts -

Katydids are relatives of crickets and grasshoppers. They can grow over two inches in length and are a bright leafy green color. They have long oval shaped wings which are held vertically over the body resembling roof shingles. The wings have lots of veins and look like leaves. They have very long antennae often extending beyond the tip of the abdomen.

Katydids live in forested areas, in thickets or even in fields where there are plenty of shrubs and trees. They are often heard but not seen preferring to stay at the tops of the trees where more leaves are available. Most katydids are vegetarians but there are some that are predatory on other insects.

Both male and female katydids make sounds. They sing to each other by rubbing their front wings together. With their ears on their front legs they can hear each other's songs. In the early fall, females lay their eggs on stems. The following spring, a nymph is hatched. Katydid nymphs eat and grow. They shed their skin several times as they grow, each time looking more like an adult katydid.

Katydids are not big into flying but will fly short distances when they feel threatened. When they do, it is more like a downward drift. They prefer to climb and walk and when they find themselves on the ground will hike along to the nearest tree and climb it. Katydids have several predators to include spiders, bats, birds, frogs and, at my house, cats.


Katydid Legends -

The katydid is considered a prophet of weather to come. The legend alleges that when the katydids first start their song at night it means the first frost will occur in three months. Later in the summer when the katydid is heard during the day singing from the deep shadows, the first frost is but six weeks away. On the last day before the first hard frost, the katydid sings its own eulogy.

A Cherokee legend has it that hearing a katydid close by is warning of impending death.

Chinese lore includes the katydid as a symbol of thriving prosperity and fertility.

One explanation for the variety of sounds different katydids make is "Some of them say 'katy did', others say 'katy didn't' which gives them an excuse to argue all night.

Another legend about how the katydid got its song is one of unrequited love. It goes like this. Two sisters, Katy and Dora, were in love with the same fellow. When he chose Dora, katy became so angry she murdered him. His spirit transformed into an insect. While his friends were puzzling over his murder one night, he revealed Katy's name in a song - "Katy did, She did, Katy did".

A Mississippi valley legend goes that the reason katydids die in the winter is because they spend all summer singing instead building shelter like the ants do.

Another weather predictor - the earlier in the day you first hear a katydid, the hotter that day will be.

In Brazil, seeing a katydid in the house is a sign of hope.


Katydid Quotes -

"Thou art a female, Katydid!

I know it by the trill

That quivers through thy piercing notes

So petulant and shrill.

I think there is a knot of you

Beneath the hollow tree,

A knot of spinster Katydids, -

Do Katydids drink tea?"

From Oliver Wendell Holmes- To An Insect


"But the katydid - how shall I describe its piquant utterances? One sings from a willow tree just outside my open bedroom window, twenty yards distant; every clear night for a fortnight past has sooth'd me to sleep. I rode through a piece of woods for a hundred yards the other evening, and heard the katydids by myriads- very curious for once; but I like better my single neighbor on the tree."

From Walt Whitman - Prose Works


"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream."

From Shirley Jackson - The Haunting of Hill House.


For more Hubs about things in nature please click here - http://suziecat7.hubpages.com/_36otspfnata5l/hub/Invasion-Of-The-Zombie-Ants

And here - http://suziecat7.hubpages.com/_36otspfnata5l/hub/The-Simple-Beauty-of-Mountain-Laurel

And here - http://suziecat7.hubpages.com/_36otspfnata5l/hub/The-Music-Of-Nature





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    • jcbmack profile image

      jcbmack 5 years ago from Stillwater Oklahoma

      Thanks for this beautiful and entertaining hub. I also learned some interesting and new things.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I don't think that I have ever seen a Katydid. Thanks for introducing me to a new bug. I found the different legends

      very interesting. They sure have a cute little face.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Lovely expose of the "Katydid/Didn't" I loved the part about them arguing all night! And the lovely poems. We don't have them in the UK, I don't think, you only send us the nasties like the Gray Squirrel which kills our red squirrels and huge, menacing crawfish (crawdads I guess) which eat out timid little scuttlers...unjust I calls it! Bob

    • SubRon7 profile image

      James W. Nelson 5 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      Absolutely gorgeous hub, Suziecat7, I do love nature. Back in the day when my nephew still hung with me, say I was eleven, he was six, we would catch a katydid and one would say "Katy did" the other would answer "Katy didn't." Darn, I had hoped we were the first to say that!

    • suziecat7 profile image
      Author

      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Jcbmack - Glad you enjoyed. Thanks so much for stopping by.

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Just Ask Susan - Katydids are pretty numerous in my neck of the woods. I saw one out on my deck, stared at it for awhile and decided to write a Hub about it. They do have cute faces. Thanks for reading.

    • Brandonwm80 profile image

      Brandonwm80 5 years ago from Columbus Ohio

      good hub

    • Daffy Duck profile image

      Daffy Duck 5 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

      It's interesting to know that people would look to animals to help predict the weather and other things. Animals do seem to be able to sense things like an earthquake before it happens. Others are sensative to the weather.

      To predict death though, I'd have to see it numerous times to believe it.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      I can't stand bugs, but I have to admit this one is a cutie!

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I remember katydids well, from the old summer nights in Iowa with no air conditioning and open windows. They have a different song rate in different regions. :

      http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/walker/buzz/141a.htm

      Cool Hub!

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Brought memories from my grandparents on the farm....

      Thanks for sharing. Flag up!

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

      I have always loved katydids! When I spent summers in Mississippi, I loved listening to them at night. What a great informative hub. Thanks so much for sharing!

      Voted up, up and away!

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Hi Bob - Those nasty gray squirrels keep eating all the bird seed and knocking the feeders down. Glad you could stop by.

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      SubRon - Not the first but still cool. Thanks for your kind comment.

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Brandon - thanks.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Aye, cool facts and loved the lore and quotes suziecat7. They are unique buggies. Btw, according to the "Katydid Times News," they fear those unholy praying mantises the most. Thought you might want to add that in the Hub..lol! Vote er up!

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Daffy - Yes animals seem to have an innate sense of the weather. Thanks for reading and taking the ime to comment.

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      BP - Not fond of bugs myself but katydids, like lady bugs, are cool. Thanks for reading - see you at the inn.

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      WillStarr - Thanks for the interesting link. Nature is amazing. Always good to see you.

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Dallas - Glad to help bring back great memories. Thanks for the up rate and for visiting.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      suzie - oh, so that's the Katydid! Well thank you for this one. I love that sushing sound on a summer night and did not realize that it was them!

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Thanks, Dexter - glad you enjoyed.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      This was so beautiful information. I love this grasshoppers. Well done, Suzanne. Vote up for you. Cheers...

    • jamterrell profile image

      jamterrell 5 years ago

      Very entertaining hub, suzie. Voted up.

    • Mark Ewbie profile image

      Mark Ewbie 5 years ago from Euroland

      That's lovely, enjoyed reading and I like your bug too.

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Thanks, Alastar - Those praying mantises are evil. Appreciate the vote up.

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Dolores - Their sound at night is wonderful. Thank you so much for reading.

    • Dr Rockpile profile image

      Dr Rockpile 5 years ago from USA

      I don't like bugs either, but I did like your hub. :)

    • suziecat7 profile image
      Author

      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Thanks, Pras - Cheers to you too.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

      One of the drawbacks to living in the heart of the city is the loss of those divine sounds of nature such as the Katydid. It seems to all get buried in the din of noise made by human beings...much like the stars of night are blacked out by the glow of the city lights. Thanks for reminding me that such things still actually exists! LOL! WB

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      SH - Thanks for stopping by.

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Jam - Thanks - glad you could stop by.

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Mark - It is a cool bug. Thanks for reading.

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Dr. Rockpile - Glad you liked the Hub if not the bug.

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Wayne - The city has special sounds as well. I love living in the woods though. Even though some critters are a pain in the arse. Thanks for reading, Wayne.

    • TattooKitty profile image

      TattooKitty 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Awesome hub- great article and sweet pix! I've never seen a katydid before, but was always interested in them! Thanks for the legends section as well- those little tid-bits were fun to read ;)

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

      TattooKitty - Glad you liked.

    • LuxmiH profile image

      Luxmih Eve-Lyn Forbes 5 years ago from Fort Pierce, Florida

      LOL. Well I never thought I'd enjoy a Hub praising the virtues of a Katydid.

      Being predominantly auditory, I confess to loving the trill of those little critters,I associate them with the warm weather that I so love.

      Like Tattoo I have never really seen one so the photo was useful.

      Voted up and interesting. God Bless the USA! (and all her little critters)

    • profile image

      stessily 5 years ago

      I love that poem, "To an Insect", by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. It's so charming. Ever an astute observer, Oliver Sr. became acquainted with katydids in Providence, Rhode Island and in towns neighboring Boston; he had grown up without their distinctive symphony in Cambridge, which was not one of their New England habitats.

      Thanks for reminding me of this insect with its lovely green coloring.

    • louromano profile image

      louromano 5 years ago

      I enjoy video post.! Thanks.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi suziecat7,

      I saw a bunch of tiny baby grasshoppers or perhaps katydids on a rose bush last week and photographed them. Not sure which they were and they were gone by the next day. They were cute. We certainly hear them singing at night! I liked this hub and in particular the quotes. Voted up, interesting and will SHARE.

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Thanks everyone.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      look at those green wings.they're like leaves :) it's good that they can hide on their predators to survive. Love the quotes :)

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 4 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi, as a naturalist in the Uk I have found this hub a joy to read and learned some fascinating facts about your native species. I must confess I have never heard the name before but found the subject of great interest. Thank you for a very informative hub.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

      I enjoyed your Hub very much. Both videos are really cool. The Katydid is truly a beautiful creature that makes great music. Thank you for this pleasure.

      James :-)

    • ibescience profile image

      ibescience 3 years ago

      You have made katydids cute! Very interesting article.

    • suziecat7 profile image
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      suziecat7 3 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Thanks, Ibescience.

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