Scott Hiebert took this photo of a Katydid in the Tehachapi Valley. Katydids are in the order of insects known as Orthoptera, which includes grasshoppers, locusts and crickets.
Katydids have also been called “bush crickets” and “long-horned grasshoppers.” There are multiple species in our state, but one of the most common and frequently seen is the California Anglewing Katydid (Microcentrum californicum).
Katydids feed mostly on leaves, and they resemble leaves so closely that they are typically overlooked by predators due to their convincing camouflage. Katydids even have veining in their wings that resembles the veins of leaves.
Katydids have wings and they can fly away from danger if they feel threatened. They are often active at night, and when you are outside in the Tehachapi area on summer nights and hear a ticking or clicking sound in the trees, it is probably Katydids making that sound.
One distinguishing characteristic of Katydids is their very long, slender antennae. Grasshoppers typically have much shorter, thicker antennae than their Katydid relatives. Adult Katydids are mostly active in the summer and autumn. They are harmless insects whose only defense seems to be their cryptic coloration and ability to fly away from trouble — though they cannot fly particularly fast or far.
Katydids are mostly found individually and do not typically form large congregations like grasshoppers and crickets occasionally do.
NATURAL SIGHTINGS is a regular feature of the Tehachapi News edited by Jon Hammond which showcases photos of the natural beauty that enhances the quality of life in Tehachapi. If you have a good quality image of plants, animals, insects, trees, birds, weather phenomena, etc., taken in the Tehachapi area, you may submit it to the Tehachapi News for possible publication. Submissions can be dropped by the News office in the form of a print or CD, or sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.