Playing a song for the ladies…

This video shows a male katydid (family Tettigoniidae) producing a characteristic chirp.  The sound is generated by stridulation, which involves rubbing body parts together.  Although different insects in the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets) can produce sound in different ways, this katydid uses its front wings.  Part of the wing edges are file-like, and rubbing these edges together creates the sound.

The male is playing this song in an effort to attract a female.  Upon copulation, the male will pass a packet of sperm cells known as a spermatophore to the female’s ovipore (reproductive opening).  Katydid males also attach a spermatophylax to the spermatophore.  This gelatenous blob is rich in protein, and is a nutritious “nuptual gift” for the female.  While the female benefits from the added nutrition, the male benefits from additional insemination time.

After mating the female will lay her eggs on plants, and the eggs will overwinter before hatching in the spring.

Video recorded 09/19/2010 on the edge of a soybean field near Palmyra Michigan.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Entomology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Playing a song for the ladies…

  1. Pingback: Random Insect: Short-horned grasshopper | The Life of Your Time

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