Katydid!…Did she?

Olive – a Giant Long-Legged Katydid from Malaysia – was with us for only a few days, however, she left us with a precious gift; her eggs! Now, will those eggs hatch? We’re keeping our fingers crossed over here that we’ll soon be seeing some cute little katydid babies! This insect has quickly become my favorite among our exotic insects here at the Butterfly Center since it’s arrival just a couple of years ago. 

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Bob and Me

Our first was Bob – he arrived in January of 2006. We had never ordered anything like him before, so I was excited to see what he would look like. Well, it was a probably the biggest bug I had ever seen! At first I was hesitant to try to touch him, but I held my hand out and he just climbed right up there, waving his extremely long antennae all around! I was shocked that an insect of his size (roughly 6 inches in length) would have such a friendly demeanor.

I started to handle him more and more, and eventually we included him in our Bugs on Wheels program. The kids absolutely flipped out when they saw him and were so excited to touch him! I was lucky enough to find him a mate, Momma, who produced 103 eggs! Raising these impressive insects was a very interesting experience.  Out of 103 eggs, 99 hatched, which was amazing! The nymphs (immature individuals) were very fragile and faced many challenges with molting (shedding of the exoskeleton). Out of 99 babies, 13 katydids made it to adulthood. Considering the factors affecting their growth, I felt pretty awesome about that. They were featured in the Frogs: A Chorus of Colors exhibit and 3 of them are still with me! They are officially retired old fogeys, but still alive. They are going on 2 years, which is remarkable for an insect!

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Katydid Eggs

Since all we had was a few retirees sitting around, we needed some young ones for Bugs On Wheels and display in the Insect Zoo. That’s when we got Olive. She arrived along with 3 males: Milo, Otis, and Steve, but died 3 days after her arrival. So, it was a wonderful surprise when I discovered 33 eggs a couple of weeks ago! I am taking care of them and hoping that they will hatch soon, keep your fingers crossed. We want to always have this amazing animal around to share with people!

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Katydid!

Now if, you’re wondering…What is a katydid? Katydids, also known as long-horned grasshopper or bush crickets,  belong to the order Orthoptera which also includes grasshoppers and crickets. These insects are all characterized by long muscular hind legs, 2 pairs of wings, and the ability to produce noise. 

Katydids look much like a grasshopper, but are more closely related to crickets because of the way they make all that noise. Katydids and crickets rub one wing against the other while grasshoppers rub one leg against one wing. All katydid are mimics, most have leathery green forewings to help them resemble green leaves, but some mimic dangerous arthropods such as spiders or ants.

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Notice the long antennae

Katydids are sometime called Long-horned grasshoppers because of their long antennae, which can be twice the length of their body. These long antennae help the katydid at night by acting as touch receptors, allowing them to feel, as well as smell, the environment around them.

They are nocturnal animals, remaining motionless during the day to avoid their predators. They’re very often attracted to lights at night, so you may have seen one on your front porch.

These insects have what is called simple metamorphosis which is different from that of a butterfly. The baby insect hatches and looks just like the adult, only tiny. This baby is called a nymph, instead of a larva. After several molts, the insect reaches it’s full size and if wings are present, they will be fully developed. The female lays eggs, one at a time, in several different substrates, including soil, plants stems, or tree bark. They are usually cleverly disguised as seeds to throw off potential predators. 

Katydid on a rose

Creative Commons License photo credit: wolfpix
 A common Texas Katydid

There are over 6,000 described species of katydid that live all over the world, with half of them live in the Amazon rainforest. Katydids are very common in Texas and are usually a couple of inches long. Our Malaysian Katydids are arguably the largest Orthopteran species in the world!

It is such an amazing insect, you should come and see Otis sometime on display in the Entomology Hall. Milo is the one we have now for Bugs on Wheels. He, like the others, is so wonderfully calm as hundreds of children pet him several times a week. This is truly a spectacular creature!

So, if you find some time, say a little prayer for Olive’s eggs!

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160 thoughts on “Katydid!…Did she?

  1. I love seeing your katydid’s Erin. Do they ever fly and if so have you seen them? How wide is their wing span?

  2. They sure can fly! I like to compare it to the flight capability of a chicken, short distances only! I have seen them fly and I’d say they can go a good 20-30 feet at a time. I think their wing span is at least 8-10 inches!

  3. I have found a Katydid. Hitching a ride accross town on a car.
    Should I let it go. I wonder where to release it.
    I have kept it in an large gallon ice cream tub. With grape leaves
    grass and dandy lion greens. I love it. I am attached or fond of
    it.

  4. Kay, I can totally understand wanting to keep a cool creature like the katydid. If you keep it, make sure you spray it with water each day and give it some romaine lettuce along with the stuff you are already feeding it. If you want to release it, I would do so in an open field with lots of tall tall grass.

  5. That’s a great question! Female katydids have a very long, sword-like ovipositor protruding from the end of their abdomen. This is what they use to lay their eggs. Each one is made for the type of substrate the eggs are laid in such as soil, wood, leaves, etc. It may be straight or curved and some are longer than others, but it is definitely noticeable. The males obviously lack this feature. Thanks for the question!

  6. I found a small katydid outside and would like to keep it for a short while, can you give me some information about them. What they eat? What they need as a habitat? What type of bedding they like? I would appreciate any information you can provide.

    Thanks

  7. Hi Connie! Keeping a katydid is super easy! All you need is s container such as a critter carrier (plastic with colorful lids, you can find them at any pet store.) Any kind of dirt or soil will do as a substrate. Be sure to include several sticks, especially if it is an immature insect that still needs to molt. Katydids feed on a wide variety of plants, but a sure thing to feed them is romaine lettuce. It fulfills their nutritional needs and they will always eat it! It is a good idea to mist them a couple of times a week to make sure they are getting enough moisture, the rest of the time they get moisture from their food. That’s all you really need, good luck!

  8. Erin- I was SO pleased to find this website, and all the helpful info and interesting stories and photos you’ve provided. Just about an hour ago, we found a female (thank you for helping us determine that) katydid and my kids are all exciated about trying to care for her. I do a question or two for now, and that is: Since the mating season is later summer and early fall, is there a pretty good chance that this insect will end up laying eggs? Also, when katydid eggs hatch in captivity, what do you keep them in that enables them to breathe, yet not run rampant in your home, etc? Thank you, and good luck with your own katydids!

  9. Thankyou so much.
    Now I have had the Katydid 3 weeks with your advice as to its
    care. I will find a plastic carrier Friday and add sticks
    for molting and find a sprayer on my lunch. Thanks again.
    This is a very dear creature. I wonder also about bedding.
    as the plastic bottom of the cage is rusty quickly.
    I have decided to keep her instead of let her go. I just hope
    she survives my limited experience. Kay

  10. Kerry, Thank you so much for reading! I’m so happy to hear that some people like to hear my crazy bug stories! I’m also glad you enjoy observing katydids in your own home! I’d say you probably have about a 50/50 chance that the female will lay eggs for you. Female katydids lay their eggs in or on a variety of substrates. It would be a good idea to have all available, leaves, plant stems, sticks, and a couple of inches of dirt at the bottom. I think a lot of our native katydids lay on the leaves, so check them often for rows of flat, oval shaped eggs. They need a couple of months to hatch and when they do you can probably keep them in the container with the adult. They certainly will not bother each other! If there are too many, or you’re afraid they might escape you can separate them. I like to use plastic 32 ounce solo cups (we get them from Ace Mart). You have to poke holes in the lid of course. Put about an inch or two of dirt in the bottom, and be sure to add a couple of small twigs for them to climb on. They will eat romaine lettuce just like the adults. Hope that helps! If you need anymore advice, please ask!

  11. Kay,

    I’m so happy to hear that you’ve been successful with your katydid! You can use any sort of dirt for a substrate. Sand is the only one that I wouldn’t reccommend, but potting soil, coconut fiber, or dirt from right outside will do fine. Katydids are probably my favorite type of insect and they are wonderful creatures! Don’t worry about your limited experience. As long as you provide the insect with food, it will be ok. I do find that love and admiration go a long way too :)!

  12. Erin- Thank you so much for your advise! My two girls have had a great time setting up their Katydid’s habitat, and she seems to be eating well also. I do have one more concern that has arisen since my last post. Today, we noticed one of our bug’s front legs is missing. It was found lying on the bottom of our critter keeper. We think she may have chewed it off, as it didn’t seem to be stuck in anything last night. We were a bit horrified, and wonder if this is normal. I read that their ears are on their front legs, so in essence, she has lost her ear too! Will it grow back? We are a bit distressed about this!

  13. Kerry,

    I’m sorry to hear about the lost leg! This is very common and nothing to worry about. Odds are that she injured the leg previously and it was dying. Often times insect will remove the excess baggage of a dying or dead limb themselves. She will do just fine with only 5! She may have lost an ear, but since their ears are mainly used for finding mates and escaping predators, she will manage with only one. If she is an adult (has fully developed wings) she will not grow the leg back. However, if she is still a nymph, she could possibly regenerate a new leg with her next molt. You can reassure your girls that their little katydid is a trouper and going fine!

  14. all this is super helpful! my brother found one and put it in a container with and a stick and it laid eggs right away. they’re so interesting to watch.

  15. We also caught a Katydid for our insect loving daughter and it has been eating like crazy- however, no one has yet mentioned the poop! We have had it 2 days and I already found the need to clean out the pet carrier. Is it normal for them to defecate so often and so much?!?

  16. Erin,
    I was doing some research on Giant Malaysian katydids and was talking to Zack and Jayme from the Audubon Insectarium. They wanted me to write you and tell you that they are very excited about your Katydid eggs.

  17. Hi Erin
    tnx a lot for providing such interesting and helpful information about Katydid.I live in Dhaka,Bangladesh.Recently i went to my grandma’s house and brought a Katydid with me.And now im a big fan of this bug :)…I bought a fish pot and put some stone at the bottom and a moneyplant with water in it and made a home for her.I didnt knw what to feed…I tried grass,leaf..etc.It eats apple.I will try lettuce tomorrow :)
    soon have a plan to creat a group “Katydid Lover”…in Facebook.
    Tnx again 😉

  18. Hi Erin,
    I have just stumbled across your site and it’s awesome.
    I am in the UK and until yesterday had a pair of Katydids. The male died yesterday and i found him last night. The strange thing is that the female was VERY noisy last night after he has died and then spent today laying lots of eggs. I have just looked and she is now lying on the floor of their home and just twitching? Can you think of any reason why they would both die so close together? They have a roomy, clean cage with plenty of food and have been happy there for 6 months since i bought them (as adults) Being a romantic I am hoping she is dying of a broken heart but also worried that it is something i have done. I have not done anything different though!! :(
    Also do you know the best way to store the eggs? there are 2 very big bunches of them?
    Many thanks
    James

  19. I’m very sorry to hear about your losses James, although it is a very romantic story! You should not feel bad and you certainly didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just a sad fact that insects have very short lifespans. It’s also about this time of year that most adult katydids are dying off for the winter. The fact that they died so close together is most likely a coincidence. Female katydids will always die shortly after laying their last batch of eggs. If the eggs are properly cared for, they should hatch and then you’ll have several babies to take care of! I would keep them buried in dirt inside a small container with holes poked in the lid. Don’t make the holes too big, the babies might be able to escape through them. The dirt should be kept moist, not too dry, but not too wet. You can read some of my previous comments to learn how to care for the babies. Just be patient, they can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months to hatch! Good luck and thank you so much for reading!

  20. Hi Erin,

    Thank you for your comments. Sadly the female was dead when i woke up this morning but had pushed her way across the floor and died next to the male (i had left him there to make sure he was actually dead!) so gonna stick with the romance thing :)
    Thank you for the advice on the eggs. I will go and do that now. Can i remove the eggs from the sticks as they are all clumped together?

    Thank you again and Merry Christmas :)

  21. Awww, that’s very sweet! I would leave the eggs attached to the sticks so you don’t run the risk of damaging them. The female has probably glued them on there pretty well. You may want to place the sticks on top of the dirt in the container instead of underneath and just make sure you have a nice level of humidity in there. You have a Merry Christmas as well!

  22. My Daughter and I found a Katydid this afternoon and she wants to keep it. So we got a box and put it in there. Now, do we leave it outside or can we bring it into the house? We live in Phoenix and I don’t know the climate that it is supposed to be in.

    Thanks!

  23. I think your best bet is to keep the katydid inside since it’s getting a little cooler outside. Do not be too disappointed if it doesn’t last for too much longer, but you never know! Have fun!

  24. Hi Erin,
    Well I last emailed you on the 8th December and it’s only been 5 weeks but the first little hatchling has emerged this morning :)
    It is really cute and like a tiny green ant with giant back legs ! lol
    Just wanted to check that they can eat the same as the adults? or is there anything else i should put in other than the leaves to help their strength?

    Best wishes and happy new year :)

  25. Alright! Congratulations on your first nymph, they are so cute! They sure can eat the same as the adults. You can feed them a variety of leafy greens including lettuce and you can also try dfferent kinds of fruits and vegetables. Just make sure they have plenty of sticks and things to hang from for molting. I would actually love to see pictures! If you get a chance to take some, you can e-mail them to blogadmin@hmns.org. Just put my name on there and they will send it along to me. Have fun raising them!

    Happy New Year to you too!

  26. Hi Erin,
    Thank you for the reply.
    I will definately take photos as soon as i can find the battery charger!! Will have a good look for it tomorrow night. :)
    There seems to be 2 or 3 hatching every night so it think we have 14 at the moment and plenty more to come!!!!
    I forgot to ask, is there a limit to how many can be housed together? I have split them into 3 seperate containers with 4 or 5 in each, will this be okay?

    James

  27. Keeping the nymphs together will be just fine as long as they’re not crowded and have plenty of space. During this time, they need enough space to be able to molt without being disturbed by one of their mates! Your setup sounds like it should be fine. I wonder how many more will hatch, you may need to get some more containers! Don’t be surprised if some of them don’t make it. Many problems can occur during their development. That’s why they lay so many eggs, they know that a very small percentage will make it to adulthood. This is even true in captivity unfortunately. Katydid nymphs do tend to canabalize those individuals that are weak, sick, or have a bad molt. Sorry to be graphic, but I just want you to know what may happen. The ones that do make it will be that much more special! I hope you can find your battery charger, I’d love to know what species you have!

    Thank you so much again for reading!

  28. Hello Erin,
    My friend Catie and I found a Katydid on May 22nd and are proud ‘parents’. We are in Middle shool and fell in love just at the sight of Zirina-(our Katydid’s name). We are not sure if it is okay with us holding it captive in a rather large Glad bin case. Should we let it go? And about how long will Zirina live for? Our friends keep telling us it will only last another day. We are scared that we will kill it. Our teachers love that we are caring for it. We did find it injured on a park bench. We are nursing it back to health, but we do NOT want to let it go! Haha, we arent sure if we actaully are being good ‘parents’. It’s container contains small white, purple ,and yellow petals, the greenest grass we could find, some leaves-diffrent sorts and kinds-and some water pelets we put in every other day. Should we add anything? Subtract? Multiply? Divide? (There are many air holes)

    _-_-_-_-_- Extremely worried people!

  29. Hi girls! Well, sounds to me like you’re doing everything right! You will not kill her by keeping her in captivity as long as you provide her with her basic needs like water food and of course, air! I would be sure to feed her plenty of romaine lettuce just in case she doesn’t appreciate the leaves you giver her. It seems to me like you’ve made her enclosure resemble her natural habitat very much and that will also help. I cannot tell you how much longer she will live since I don’t know how old she is now. It is early in the season so I would expect her to be able to live for several more months. She is more than likely pretty young. If she does die, it will probably not be from anything that you’ve done. Bugs can die from many natural causes, just like all other animals. I’m so glad you’ve become interested in Katydids, they are truly one of my very favorites! Good luck with Zirina!

  30. Hi Erin,

    I wrote some time ago after my eggs had hatched. Well a few months on and the then babies are now adults that have laid their first eggs and these are now hatching (i had my first nymphs this morning)
    Just wanted to ask how many eggs batches will the average female lay? I’m just a little worried that i have 10 nymphs and about 200 eggs but they are still laying virtually every night!!! Just not sure what to do with them all!??
    James

  31. Hi James! Great to hear from you again!

    Wow, so you have some egg-laying machines! Unfortunately, I cannot tell you exactly how many eggs your females will lay. All I know is that they are capable of laying hundreds of eggs throughout their lifespan.

    In the wild, their lifespan may be quite a bit shorter, they could get diseased or eaten by a predator. They know that this can happen so they lay as many eggs they can until their time runs out. They also lay hundreds of eggs because they know a very small percentage of them will hatch and make it to adulthood.

    So, the unfortunate thing about keeping them in captivity is that they will live long enough to lay all of their eggs and most of them will hatch, and several of them will make it to adulthood and before you know it, you have so many individuals, you’re not sure what to do with them! You obviously can’t release them since they are not native, so your best bet is to see if you can trade them or give them away. I would absolutely love to have some if you’re looking for a home! I will contact my USDA advisor and see if there is a way that you can send them to me and contact you through e-mail. I still have your e-mail address.

  32. i just caught a katydid i got rose and bramble and been spraying it i dont know how to keep it but i kept stick insects before if you can email any information i might need thanks
    Daniel
    dando1995@hotmail.co.uk
    ps dont use any scientific words im only 14

  33. Hi Erin, found your website in a google search; maybe you can help me, you seem more knowledgeable at your age than other sites I’ve been too (that’s a complement) I found a katydid outside my door this morning lying on it’s side, legs twitching. It’s pretty big. I don’t know if a another bug got it overnight or if it’s dying. I scooped it up in a leaf (made it a bed) and put it near some moss. I’m not sure what to do with it (let nature take its course?) It’s been 3 hrs and it’s still in the same position, I just feel bad for it. I live in western NC, evalation 2800′ if that helps

  34. Hi Kim! Sounds to me from the behavior the katydid is exhibiting, that it’s time has just run out. Insects will commonly have muscle twitches while they are dying. There is a possibility that it could have been envenomated by something (stung by a wasp or bitten by a spider), but in that case, they probably would have gone ahead an eaten it or taken it away to a nest somewhere. When an insect is dying of old age, I usually just let nature take it’s course. It’s kind of like their body is slowly shutting down and they’re not in any sort of pain. Now if it had looked like it had been mangled, half eaten, or smushed, I would put it in the freezer to end it’s suffering. I can see that you commented on Saturday, so the katydid is gone by now, but I hope this helps!

  35. I enjoyed reading all the katydid stories. I currently have a katydid living in my home. It all started the other night when I was relaxing before bed surfing the net. I heard this very loud insect sound in my house, it scared the crap out of me. I could not find where the sound was coming from. It happened again the next night. Then yesterday I saw him…a huge katydid was crawling on my curtian. Poor guy is missing one of his jumping legs so I named him Nemo. Last night when I was done having my snack before bed (a fruit cup) he flew down from the curtain and landed in the cup and was drinking the juice left in the bottom. I guess he must like fruit? I don’t want to put him back outside as he is handicap. Is he ok just chillin in my house or should I put something together for him?

  36. What a cute story! I love getting to hear all of the katydids stories from readers as well! He will probably do fine staying in your house, especially since he might get snatched up by a predator easily if he goes outside. I would, however, make sure he gets some plant material like Romaine lettuce or other dark greens. They do enjoy fruit, but cannot live off of it exclusively. Thanks for reading!

  37. Sunnyvale, California
    Hi our katydid name is Kiley we had her for about 3 weeks.So far she had laid about 37 eggs during her second week. My co-works was trying to scare me with her because they know I’m afraid of spiders. But not bugs anyway,I took her home thinking this could be a cool little project for our son Xavier. You know this a pretty cool bug! Next time we will have our son send pictures of Kiley and her eggs. Thank you so much for all the helpful ideals on how to take care of this super cool insect.
    Thank You

  38. Erin-
    I am so glad to have found your website; I had no idea there were so many other people who have gotten attached to their Katydid/s!! Anyway, I have a question for you: I have (what I think are) 2 male Katydids living together in the same critter cage. I have had one for a little over 2 months and the other one was added about 4 or 5 weeks ago. They have gotten along fine until recently. I have noticed that it appears that one has been nibbling the wings of the other (and possibly the antenna). They have plenty of lettuce in their cage, so I know it’s not because they’re hungry. I have looked at several websites that have stated that Katydids sometimes eat dead insects, but have found nothing about them eating one another. Is it possible that something else is happening, or do you think one is actually snacking on the other. Please advise! Thank you for your time!

  39. I am surprised too that so many people have become interested in Katydids and it seems like I’ve started a katydid loving movement!

    There are a couple of reasons that your male katydids are seemingly “snacking” on eachother. One possibility, I forgot to mention in this article, is that some katydids are in fact predatory. They all need to eat lettuce or foliage, but also need more protein than other species of katydids. Some will scavenge dead insects while others will actively hunt and kill other insects for food. Whether they are predatory or not, most insects need a certain amount of protein in their diet and will sometimes act as “opportunistic” predators, especially in captivity. Your males may not want to eat eachother, but are nibbling on eachothers wings for that little bit of protein they need. Finally, males of any species of animal can be territorial and they may be acting out at eachother because there is not enough space.

    So, I suggest that you get them a house that is a little bit larger and add more leafy branches to provide hiding and resting places so they can have their own space. You can supplement their diet with dry cat food, fish flakes, and seeds such as sunflower seeds. A good wild bird mix should do fine. They should be able to get all of the nutrients they need from this and the lettuce that you have been providing them. Hopefully then, they will leave eachother alone. I hope this helps, thanks so much for reading!

  40. Erin-
    Thanks for such a speedy response! I have taken your advice and hope that it helps! Thanks again!

  41. Dear Erin & everyone else,

    I am happy to have found other Katydid friendly people! I actually just found this site tonight after doing a little research…sadly enough, we lost our Katydid this weekend. She lived with my son and me for quite some time (close to 3 months!). We played with her daily, provided fresh leaves and food, and cleaned out her habitat daily. I knew she wouldn’t live forever, but was extremely sad to find her curled up. We gave her a proper burial…complete with a Bible verse read and a thank you to God for letting her be a part of our life. She was a gem and even made an appearance in my son’s 2nd grade class–I taught a science lesson about her and had the kids label a picture identifying the main body parts. I just have one quick question–I live in Colorado and was curious as to if Katydids can withstand out winter months?

    Thanks ~ and enjoy the Katydids, they are marvelous creatures.

    P.S. Katydid laid many eggs. I’m hoping that she did indeed mate prior to laying her first set of eggs–she laid them on her first night with us. It would be wonderful if they hatched!

  42. Hi Jo! What a great story, I love to hear stuff like this! I’m very sorry that she passed though. To answer your question, most insects cannot withstand temperatures below freezing. So, unfortunately, I’m sure they don’t stick around during the winter in Colorado. That’s why they lay eggs that will stay dormant during the winter and hatch out in the spring. The babies hatch in the spring and the katydid has a lifespan that lasts about as long as the warm weather does.

    I really hopr your eggs hatch, and even though they may be indoors, don’t be discouraged if they don’t hatch until the spring, although they may hatch earlier. Thanks for reading!

  43. Hi Erin, Thanks for writing back. Your response makes me feel better… I know that we certainly extended the life of Katydid by having her inside the house. We had a spell in early October where we were far below freezing on multiple days. And then at the end of the October we had a foot of snow! No doubt, Katydid lived longer by being with us if they cannot withstand freezing temperatures. We do really miss her though…and I’ll keep her baby eggs safe until Spring! There’s only one set of eggs that has a possibility of hatching – unless they can mate only once and all eggs they lay have a chance? Thank you again for your time and do let me know if I can be of any support to you. :-) JO

  44. We found a wonderful katydid today. It was rather striking, a single green “leaf” among fallen bright yellow leaves from a willow tree. Wish I’d taken a picture!

    Really enjoying watching all the grooming going on. You offered a lot of advice on diet and environment, but I’d like a clearer picture of how clean the environment needs to be kept. A couple of those that wrote in mentioned daily cleaning. Sounded a little excessive to me. Can you offer a guideline as to frequency of freshening soil and cleaning the container?

    Thank you!

  45. Hi Kristen!

    I’m glad you found a beautiful katydid! Again, as I tell most people this time of year, don’t be surprised if it does not last too much longer. There is a possibility, however, that it can go for another couple of months.

    The cleaniliness of the habitat does not make too much of a difference at all. A daily or weekly cleaning is certainly not necessary. I would do it once a month at the most. That’s about how often I clean and replace substrate around here, depending on the animal. Thanks for reading!

  46. Hi,
    My third grades is writing a paper on Katydids. We’re very happy to have found your blog and appreciate your knowledge of the Katydids. We’re wondering if you can direct us to a good source to get more information about their habitat, their food, their life cycle and if they are a prey or not. Thank you very much.

  47. Hi Sonia!

    Well, unfortunately, there are not very many comprehensive web sites about Katydids. The wikipedia page is pretty informative, but not very detailed. You can try “googling” katydids and see if you find any websites that are helpful for your particular subject. If you don’t have much luck, I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about katydids. Just send an e-mail to blogadmin@hmns.org.

  48. Hi, we found a female katydid hanging on to the hood of our car today. I kept it and i fixed its cage up. I put dirt, leaves, lettuce and sticks. She is not injured or anything how old do you think she is? She is pretty small compared to some other ones I have seen. Thanks alot!

  49. Hello! Well, it’s always hard to tell exactly how old an insect is unless you’ve raised it yourself! You can make a rough estimate though. The size doesn’t really matter since Katydids vary in size depending on the species. The best way to tell, assuming it is a winged species, is to look at the wings. Does it have fully developed wings, little wing nubs, or none at all? If the wings are fully developed, then it is an adult and is most likely 2-4 months old or older. If it has wing nubs, it is a bit younger, and if no wings at all, then it is a recent hatchling. However, there are so many species of katydids, it is impossible to tell without seeing it. If you’d like to send a picture, we can probably identify the species and let you know the approximate age. Just send it to blogadmin@hmns.org

  50. Hi, I feel so lucky to have found this site. I’m living in Toronto, a pretty urbanized city and there’s not many insects lying around, but I was very lucky to find a tiny Katydid on a pole beside on a street. I had some experience keeping some adult Katydids back when I was in China, they would eat anything you throw at it I swear, from chiken leg to toilet paper! This tiny one (I think it’s a nymph) though, doesn’t seem very inclined to eat anything, and he (it’s a male) has not made any poops so far. Is that normal? I had it for two days now. And thanks for the tip about sticks for moulting, I wasn’t thinking about that before.

  51. It’s eating now, I’m not exactly feeding it lettuce but I’m feeding it cabbage, a close relative to lettuce if I’m not mistaken. I wonder if my Katydid could ever grow into a giant like the ones I kept in China and the one in your photograph. It’s so tiny right now.

  52. My children and I found an injured katydid on our back porch. I’m fairly certain it’s a male, but perhaps it’s female part could have been broken off. Looks like the cat may have had him. He is missing his large back right leg and his middle right leg is broken. Will he heal? Should we keep him and “nurse” him for a while or release him into the field behind the house? I just worry with only one let on his right side he’ll starve. Any info on what to put in the cage and what to do with him will be SO helpful! Thanks!

  53. Hi Karin! How nice of you to rescue the little guy! I would hold onto him, if you put him back outside, he will quickly be taken up by a predator since his injuries make him slower. If he is an adult (with fully developed wings) he will not heal. But, he should be ok as long as he’s kept safe. You can feed him romaine lettuce and cucumbers, corn, squash, and zuchinni. He may even like cheerios, some of our katydids do. The plain ones, not honey nut! I’d say he has about a 50/50 chance, sometimes that kind of trauma will kill them and sometimes they tough it out. Good luck!

  54. Qiu Ming,

    I just saw your post from before! That’s fascinating that you used to keep them as pets in China, I’ve heard of this being a common thing there. Maybe people in the states are starting to catch on. I’m glad you’re katydid is eating now. Perhaps the species you had back in China were omnivorous, most katydid species will eat leaves as well as proteinaceous items such as dead animals (even cooked meat)! A lot of the katydids we have in North America belong to a group that feeds mostly on foliage. I’m afraid your katydid won’t get very big, especially since you’re in Canada! The katydids in North America are very limited by seasonal changes, they cannot survive through the winter, and only live through the warm months of the year. This means they have to develop quickly and have to stay small and efficient! The katydids I have here are shipped to me from Southeat Asia. Since that is a tropical area, there is no winter, and insects from the tropics get much much bigger! Thanks for reading!

  55. Hello,
    Five days ago, on a really windy day, we saw a baby katydid clinging onto a rose while it was being blown around by the wind. We decided to catch him and keep him until he got a little bigger. We named him Timmy. The tank he’s in is pretty big, because we kept a praying mantis in it for a few months last year. I feed him cricket food and spinach, and he looks pretty happy right now. In his tank, he has a few leaves, a layer of dirt at the bottom, a stick going from the top of the tank to the bottom for him to climb on, and a rose hanging from the top, because he likes to climb closer to the top of the tank. But I read somewhere that we have to figure out what species of katydid he is, because they have different eating patterns. Do you know what species he is? Here’s a picture of him: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kingdomanimalia/4822534450/

    Thanks in advance! :)

  56. Hello!

    What a cutie! That’s nice of you guys to help him out. It is actually quite hard to tell exactly what species he is since he’s not yet an adult. He looks like he may belong to the Genus Amblycorypha, or a similar one. This means that he is definitely a vegetarian! What you’re feeding him right now is fine and he’ll definitely benefit from the protein in the cricket food. I would, however, switch to romaine lettuce instead of spinach. It is nutritionally better for them. Thank you for reading!

  57. Okay, Thank you! I’ll keep this site in mind if any other questions come up. And I only have baby romaine lettuce right now. Would that be fine or should I get some normal romaine?

  58. Hello, I have another question. So long story short, these two girls saw this katydid and got scared and for some reason started slapping at it. I caught it and brought it home, so now I have two katydids, Timmy and I named the new one Jimmy. They are the same species (I think) and age. But there’s one problem. Jimmy, the new one, is missing a back leg and an antenna because of those girls hurting him. I really want to help him, is there anything I can do? He isn’t an adult yet, so next time he molts is it possible that he will get a new leg?
    Thanks in advance!

  59. Hi there! Sorry, I missed your last question, baby romaine works just fine!It was so nice of you to save the poor tormented katydid! I don’t know why people feel like they have to hurt something because they’re afraid of it! Anyway, it probably won’t regenerate a new leg. They really have to lose a leg very early in their development to be able to grow it back. But, as long as it doesn’t affect his next molt, he should be able to get along fine without it! All you can do is take care of him and see how he does, which is a lot more than he would get from being outside, since he is handicapped. Good luck!

  60. Hey erin I found a beautiful katydid caught on a net and decided to keet him. I bought soil from the pet store, a critter carrier, and put severt sticks and ferns in the carrier. Unfortunately this little guy only likes to stay on the top of the cage…you think he likes it? if not should i let him/her go??

  61. Hi Jake!

    Well, insects are not always the best candidates for a “pet”. I think, well, if they have a preference, they would rather be in their natural habitat. But they are very simple creatures and I don’t think you are doing any harm by keeping him. He’s probably hanging out at the top of the container because katydids typically inhabit the tops of trees and shrubs, so they have a natural instinct to be as high up as they can get. Another possibility is that he’s getting ready to molt. Katydids need to hang upside down to molt, so they will often do this by hanging from the lid of their container. If you’re worried about him feeling too confined, you could try a larger or taller enclosure and see if that suits him better. I wouldn’t feel too bad about keeping him captive though. You are keeping him safe from predators! Thanks for reading!

  62. Well tonight i decided that i shouldnt keep him/her captive so I put him on teh nearest tree,(i am 3 stories high with trees hanging over my deck) and the little guy immediately began chirping a loud sound. it hopped away very quickly and dissappeared in the trees, but the chrip can still be heard. its been chirping for about 2 hours now when it didnt make a sound for about 5 days. Should i have kept it? is it going to find a mate? pretty cool stuff

  63. Jake,

    I think you did the right thing! Sometimes, animals are just not happy in captivity. It can be particularly hard on males because really, the one goal they have in life is to find a mate.If they’re stuck in captivity, this is impossible and very frustrating for them. Chirping is definitely a good thing because it means he is seeking out a mate and is probably much happier. I’m sure he will find a one!

  64. I caught a katydid but one of its antennas was missing when i caught it and also one of its back legs was missing,too.does this mean (he or she) will die?and if it does live,what does it eat and how should i set up his jar?thanks,teresa

  65. oh and P.S. i have to kill the bug for a project in my zoology class:( so its not my ‘goal’ to kill him immediantly. i just want him to live as long as he can before i have to use his body.and P.P.S. i’m a kid i’m ten yearss old as u probably already guessed.thanks for the info u can give me!

  66. Hi Teresa!

    Well, it’s ok if it’s missing an antennae and one back leg. It should certainly be able to get along fine. You can feed it romaine lettuce and a bit of cucumber, apple, squash, or zuchinni. They also like cheerios, not honey nut, the regular ones. It’s really cute to watch them eat it! I would not keep it in a jar, however. That’s much too small of a habitat. I would at leat keep it in one of those plastic critter carriers you can get at the pet store. You should set it up with dirt in the bottom and some leaves and sticks, but don’t make it too crowded! Good luck!

  67. Oh, it’s pretty easy, just look at the tip of it’s abdomen. If there is a protrusion coming off of the end, either straight or curved, it’a a female and that is her ovipositor. If it is blunt at the end, it’s a male. If you think of anymore questions, try reading through all of the previous comments, I feel like I’ve answered every kind of question! Thanks for reading!

  68. here is a video of one
    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/13105441@N04/3809159827/in/set-72157602355697798/]

  69. I found a “leaf bug” today on my porch, looking a bit lethargic, so I caught it and put it in a fishbowl with some leaves and a twig. It had a grasshopper face, so I guessed it might like lettuce and gave it some. Well, turns out I have a katydid female! She is now laying eggs on the twig. From my reading here, I guess she won’t live much longer, but I’ll have babies eventually, and with the great instructions provided I should be able to care for them. Helpful webpage!

  70. Martin,

    I’m not sure where you live, but in the United States, you are required to have a special permit from the USDA to be able to attain most exotic species of insects, especially katydids! It would be illegal for me to sell any life form of this katydid to anyone who does not hold such a permit. Sorry!

  71. Erin than you for reply! I dont know that fact. And is it possible to send eggs of local US species for example to Europe?

  72. Your website has been really helpful! I found a katydid a few days ago on my porch. It was lying on its side and was oozing a tanish-colored fluid. I assumed it was dying and left it there. When I checked on it the next day, I was surprised to find that it was still alive, but still lying on its side, barely moving. I decided to bring it inside and put it in a cage to try and nurse it back to health. I’ve followed your advice of what to feed it and how to set up the habitat. It doesn’t seem like she (I found out it was a female) has eaten much of the romaine but has pooped a lot and is moving around a little bit. She looks much better than when she was outside! So, my question is, should I be concerned that she isn’t eating much even though she’s pooping? And, what do you think was initially wrong with her when she was leaking fluid? I guess I will keep her for now since it is too cold to put her back outside! My 2 year old son has also taken a liking to her and named her “Green!”

  73. Hi Katie!

    Well, it’s difficult to diagnose something like this without seeing it. But my guess is that something had gotten a hold of her, more than likely a cat. She was probably injured and I wouldn’t be surprised if she had been playing dead hoping that the cat or other creature would lose interest. Leaking fluid is usually haemolymph, or they’re equivalent of blood. Insects lack hemoglobin, so they do not have red “blood” like us. She may have been injured, but not mortally. Luckily for them, insects don’t usually have to worry about things we do, like secondary bacterial infections from wounds. I’m sure since you brought her inside, she was able to heal and resume the rest of her life, which may not be too much longer. It just depends on how old she is already. I wouldn’t worry about the amount she is eating. They really don’t eat that much to begin with and since she’s in captivity, she’s probably using up less energy, therefore, doesn’t need to eat very much. I’m glad your son has taken a liking to her, what a great way to teach him about bugs and hopefully, he won’t be afraid of them. Glad I could help!

  74. Martin, I’m able to send things to other countries for sure. It just depends on the customs laws and things in Europe. I’m pretty sure they are a lot more relaxed then we are here in the US. Is that where you’re located? This particular species is from Malaysia, not the US. If you are in Europe, I would see if you can find anyone there that has exotic species of insects, it may be easier to acquire them that way. Anyway, I don’t have any extras now!

  75. Thanks for answering my questions! And, of course, I already have another one. I just looked at her tonight and noticed that her eyes have gotten really dark in color. They used to seem clear with a little dot of a pupil but now they are really dark red. Should I be concerned? Other than that, everything seemed normal.

  76. Erin, your site is great, I finally saw my first katydid this evening i usually sit out on my back porch and enjoy the night sky, I usally here them at night and now i know what the sound is. I saw a female laying her eggs, and after reading your site I’m also interested in keeping the eggs the female took off. I hope the eggs survive.

  77. Hi Erin, I am growing 4 baby katydids that i found in my backyard. I noticed them growing in one of our trees and so i took the opportunity to take care of them. I set up a large box with soil, stuck parts of the tree into the soil to resemble a miniature version of the tree’s branches and then watered it. So far they were doing great, but then i noticed one of the katydids had died! It’s stomach was fully yellow, and was swollen (it also had brown rings around it. It sort of looked like it was in the middle of shedding its skin, and then just died. I don’t know what happened, so could you tell me what it could mean? and what i can do to avoid it? Also i love your website =]

  78. Hi Richard!

    Well, sometimes insects just die for unknown reasons! Occasionally, an insect will start the molting (shedding) process and for some reason or another, not be able to successfully carry it out. Boy am I glad we don’t have to go through that!! It is more than likely nothing you did and something wrong with the physiology of the actual insect. The only things that you (and nature) can provide to make sure the insect is able to successfully grow and survive are food, shelter, adequate temperature, and humidity. If all of those things are in place, they will be fine unless they are weak, sick, parasitized, or preyed upon. I’m sure you’re feeding them well and it is warm enough in your house. I would keep an eye on the humidity level. They’re habitat should be moist, but not so wet so that mold can grow. Humidity is important when molting. It helps lubricate the space between their old and new skin helping to make their molt successful. I hope this helps a little bit. SOmething tells me your little guy was just one of the weaker ones. Good luck with the rest! I’m glad you enjoy the site!

  79. ahh ok. I’m glad it wasn’t my fault :) Also i released the other three katydids because i wasn’t allowed to cut any more leaves =/. But then few days later i found a bigger katydid sitting on mint leaves in my backyard. It had what looked to me like really small wings, half the size of its body. If it was wings theres no way it could have used it to fly. So i was wondering…do they eat mint leaves? and also are they capable of switching their diet to a completely different plant? because i can easily grow mint leaves as long as it keeps the katydids satisfied. I’ll also try looking for the Romaine lettuce you mentioned in your blog. The supermarket i use don’t sell that for some reason…

  80. Hi Richard! Too bad you had to let your babies go, but I’m sure they will do fine! The new katydid you have found was more than likely just perching on the mint leaves for a while. Katydids don’t typically eat herbs, especially strong ones such as mint. They have a varied diet (not one plant in particular) that usually consists of the leaves of deciduous trees, shrubs, and weeds. The tiny wings would indicate that it is still growing, probably a sub-adult, meaning it has to shed one more time before it becomes an adult and it will then have fully developed wings. You can try a variety of leaves from around your house, but if you can find the romaine lettuce, I would use that. They will definitely eat it! Good luck!

  81. Hi Erin! I found the romaine lettuce (apparently people in Melbourne say Cos lettuce):). Also i had a few questions and i wanted to ask you before setting up the cage. Do Katydids mind when the house light is turned on? because i want to keep it in my room, and i heard stick insects don’t like bright light..so maybe similar case here? Also since i sleep in my room would it be OK with the oxygen and all that at night? (because it sometimes gets stuffy, even with a fan. I would be OK keeping it outside or in a different room). This brings another question, what temperatures can they survive in? and lastly is there any dangers or precautions you think i would benefit from knowing (because i don’t want another katydid dying mysteriously x_x ). I’d also like to thank you for answering my other questions…its nice to get help from an expert than simply reading from websites :).

  82. Hi Rochard! Well, cos lettuce, that’s certainly different! I’m glad you found it because they really like it! So, katydids are nocturnal, so they will be most active at night, but it’s good to keep the house lights on during the day so they can be on a regular light/dark schedule. So, yes, keeping the house lights on is fine. The oxygen level should also be fine, if you can breathe, they can too! Katydids can survive any temperatures above freezing, but optimum temperatures are between 70 and 80 degrees. Temps below 70 will not hurt them, but they will be less active. I don’t think you have to worry about anything else, unless you have any cats or anything that might like to eat katydids!

  83. Hi Erin
    So far my Katydids have been great! Seeing them molt to adults is amazing! (I didnt think it could double its length in a matter of hours). I have a male and a female at the moment, and a few days ago i saw the female carry what looked like 6 eggs on its back; two were light brown, two were yellow and two were white. A few hours later when i checked it had only two eggs (but they were darker brown, like the other 4 fused with the light brown eggs). I also noticed that it was doing something similar to licking the eggs. Unfortunately that was the last time i saw them…so i was wondering, did it lay its eggs somewhere in the cage? (and is there anything i need to do to make sure they hatch properly?
    Also i often see them with a bubble of water in their mouth. Can you explain what it is and why they are doing it?
    Thanx

  84. Hello again Richard!

    Well, these are very good questions, unfortunately without clear answers! I would have to have seen what you were talking about with the eggs to figure out what was going on. I can tell you that katydids do not typically carry eggs around on their bodies (unless there is one species I don’t know about!) They go straight from the ovipositor to the egg laying substrate. Katydids lay their eggs in plant stems, inside of leaves, on the outside of leaves, in the soil, or in crevices of bark. Most katydid eggs resemble seeds and depending on the species, can be quite small. The shapes and sizes vary of course! I’m not sure what was on the females back, or what happened to it! Without seeing it, I have no frame of reference. So I would start checking the habitat for things that look like they could be eggs. If you do find them, it’s probably best to leave them where they are and just make sure it doesn’t get too dry in their so they do not dry out.

    As far as the bubble of water in their mouths, mine do that too! I have never found an answer to why they do it exactly, but my best guess is that it’s some kind of way to regulate the amount of moisture in their bodies. Moisture balance is very important to insects, they cannot be too dry or too wet. Perhaps if they have too much moisture inside of their bodies, they excrete it through their mouths. makes sense to me!

  85. Hi Erin,
    Can you tell me any special behaviour about katydids during breeding time? like i often see my female katydid going at the bottom of the cage (and before they both used to be at the very top no matter what time it was). Today morning it was standing under a big clump of leaves while the male katydid was on top. Could this be because its laying eggs? and is there any other things they do during this time?
    Thnx

  86. Hello again Richard,

    Katydid mating behavior is variable, depending on the species. Since they are mostly nocturnal, most of this behavior takes place at night. Their activity typically consists of a mating call from the male, followed by the actual mating. More than likely the female is laying eggs and that’s why she’s hanging out near the bottom of the enclosure.

  87. Hi Erin,

    Not sure if my post yesterday went through but I already have an update. Right now, my kids are watching our katydid lay multiple eggs on a small branch in her cage. She’s laid about a dozen. It is interesting how she splintered the branch then inserted her eggs under a paper thin layer of bark. Can you tell me how long we might expect her to live after she has laid her eggs? We’ve had her for a few weeks and have become very fond of her.
    Mahalo, Lily

  88. Hi Lily!

    No, we don’t seem to have gotten your previous post. I’m assuming from the greeting that you are located in Hawaii? There’s really no way to tell how much longer she will live having no knowledge of what species she is, how old she is now, etc. I can tell you that being in a tropical region, katydids there should live for at least a year. If she’s an adult, she’s probably at least 3-6 months old and should be able to go on for several more months. Unexpected things can always happen. Inadequate food, temperature, humidity, parasites, stress, etc can take their toll, but if you’ve read some of my previous comments, you should know quite well how to take care of her. I hope she will continue to brighten your household for a long time! Thanks for reading!

  89. Hi Erin,

    Yes, I am from Hawaii. I have taken a photo of our katydid and will send it to you shortly to see if you can identify it for us. We also managed to film her laying some eggs, quite interesting. We were wondering why her eyes seem to change color. Sometimes they almost blend in with her face and sometimes they are so black they look like little black beads glued on her head. Also, she has been single for the few weeks we have had her. Is there any chance the eggs she is laying could hatch? Mahalo, Lily

  90. Hi Lily!

    I’ll look forward to getting your picture! The reason for the change in her eye color has to do with adjusting to light and dark situations. During the day, her eyes will be green because they are taking in abundant amounts of natural light. At night, her eyes turn black to adjust to the low amount of light. Insects don’t have pupils, but you could compare it to how our pupils dialate in the dark and shrink back down in the light. It is very possible that her eggs will hatch because there is a good chance that she mated before you found her.

  91. Hi Erin!!

    Having Katydids has been awesome! i never get sick of them :)
    Recently though, they have been acting really weak…like they are not having good grip on their legs, and they dont jump anymore or fly like they used to. I also noticed that the male katydid has lost like 3 of its claw (or whatever is at the very end of the leg). The green grippy part of the leg is still there so it can still use the legs to walk, but without the claws those 3 legs cannot be used to climb at all. What could have caused this? i was thinking maybe the female bit it off…and are they getting weaker because of their age? i think they would be about half a year old. I was thinking you could help because its sad watching them like this :(
    Thanx

  92. Hi Erin,

    I really like your blog and website! I’m
    from Holland and I’m breeding rare Phasmids and
    Saturniidae for quite some time and I am really looking
    hard to find eggs of the Macrolyristes corporalis as I a have been
    trying to find them for a long time now.. Maybe you can point me
    out in the right direction?
    I hope I don’t come barging in with this post and I’m sorry for
    my bad english.

    Best regards,

    Niels

    ps: you can also contact me on my email.

  93. also about an hour ago i checked on the female katydid, and it looks paralyzed 0.o
    Its not moving, but it is definitely still alive, and its poo is all liquidy…has this happened to you before?

  94. Hi Erin!
    First off I’d like to compliment you on this site, it’s very nice and the information has been excellent!

    But down to business, I’ve received a grant for researching the life history of a katydid that has been ovipositing into the galls of Eurosta Solidaginis. I currently possess a 300 count mixture of 1st 2nd and 3rd instar nymphs, and was wondering if I could discuss a few points on my cage design with you! If you’re interested, you can contact me via email, and I can email you my experimental design and whatnot.

    Thanks,
    Wil

  95. Hi Erin,

    Just wanted to update you on our katydid adventure. Although our mama katydid finally died, we had over 80+ babies hatch from her eggs. Most have survived and we gave some away, a few perished and we are now releasing some of the adults as they get their adult wings. Although some are a little jumpy, most handle very well and have made wonderful “pets”. We have recently added a green anole to the household, which means we are also housing crickets to feed it. We are curious though, a female katydid that we don’t believe had any contact with a male has been laying eggs. Is that possible? We thought perhaps they would not be viable but are keeping an eye on the eggs anyway.

    Mahalo,
    Lily

  96. Hi Lily! Great to hear from you! That’s so great about your katydids! The smaller species are a lot easier to raise! What a great activity for you and Katy! So, the female that is laying eggs, is that one that you have raised, that you have kept away from other males? If she had absolutely no contact with a male, she can certainly still lay eggs. Female insects will often lay eggs wether they’re fertilized or not. So, if they eggs are not fertilized, they just won’t hatch. Have fun!!

  97. my cat has an obssesion with katydids and i usually just catch and then release them back out side however my evil little kitty caught one today and it’s back leg is missing and it’s wing is borken. i was wondering if the wing will repair itself -lisa

  98. Hi Lisa! Yes, cats do love to torture small animals, especially bugs! Your katydid friend, unfortunately will not be able to repair any of the damages and your kitty has just made it an easy target for another predator. It can, however live with the handicap. If you wanted to keep it, you could easily take care of it. If you let it go, it will eventually be gobbled up by something, but that’s just a part of nature. Thanks for reading!

  99. Hi Erin,
    I found a katydid in my house today and read online how to properly keep it as a pet. I was just wondering if she likes to be kept in the light or dark at night. Also she was missing one of her back legs when I found her but can still move around fine, does this mean I should let her go?
    PA, John

  100. Hi John!

    Katydids are nocturnal insects, so definitely give her time in the dark at night. Katydids can easily drop legs and move around quite well without one or two of them. However, you might want to keep him or her because the missing leg would slow it down, making it an easier target for a predator. Thanks for reading!

  101. Hi Erin,

    My son caught a Katydid a couple of nights ago. I have never seen one here in the Mojave Desert of California, so I was pretty surprised. I have had Stick Bugs, Hissing Cockroaches and Millipedes in the past (always been kind of fond of bugs, ha). I decided to keep the katydid and it laid eggs last night. It’s great to find a site with so much info about them. Are you in Texas? What do your “native” katydids look like?

  102. What do katydids eat?How do i make its habitate can it live with crickets what do they eat and what can i use for its ground material do i use soil gravel grass anything!Just tell me what my cage can look like i have a butterfly havitat and a 1 galllon and a real tall box that is about 20 inches telll and 5 inches wide.PLS TELL ME!!

  103. Hi Erin,

    Just wanted to thank you again for all your help. We eventually gave away or released about 80 katydids that hatched and we kept the last 10. Sadly, no one is willing to care for them so we will be releasing them before we leave on a trip. We do have some new eggs so we’ll see what happens when we return! These were laid by the katydids that were still eggs back in March. Is that a fast life cycle? We have really enjoyed our katydids and found them very easy to care for. Thanks again for everything!
    PS. Yes, Katy still wants to be an entomologist. She wants to know if I’ll give her some funds to start a museum here. Hah!

  104. Hi Lily!

    It’s been my pleasure to help you guys out!I’m glad you and Katy have been so successful at taking care of and raising these cool insects! Katydids do have a fast life cycle, well, compared to us especially. Once a katydid hatches, it can take only 4 months or maybe even less for them to be mature and ready to lay eggs. That’s the way it has to be for them to be reproductively successful in the micro-world of insects. I’m thrilled that Katy is interested in becoming an Entomologist, we definitely need more! Who knows, maybe some day she can receive a grant to build an insect museum there. Anything is possible!

  105. i found a katydid laying on the ground. its breathing but thats about it is there any way to save it? =[

  106. Hi Lisa! unfortunately, you may have found out already that there really is nothing you can do for an insect once it’s on its way out. It probably was attacked by an animal, or was just too old. Too bad!

  107. Hi Erin,
    I have been reading your posts and blogs with interest as I am attempting to breed some Katydids too. I am in the UK, I bought 6 small nymphs from a breeder at an insect fair, they are a Malaysian species called Ancylecha fenestrata. I have 5 adults from this batch which as they grew turned out to be all females, so I emailed the breeder and bought two males from him, he also sent an extra pair foc to make up for my bad luck.
    I now have 9 beautiful adults and they are laying loads of eggs which they tuck inside the layers of a leaf, which I find amazing!!!
    Do you have any tips on hatching the eggs and also would you like to swop some?
    I can email you some pictures of mine and also of one egg laying.
    Regards David

  108. What color are katydid’s eggs? I cannot tell if my katydid is laying eggs or just pooping

  109. Please help!!! My katydid has just bitten off her 4 front legs. She is still alive but I have no idea why she did this or what to do

  110. Well, I’m sorry Matthew, I have no idea why she would have done that either. But, without her 4 front legs, she’s not likely to be able to get around very well. She may need to be euthanized in the freezer. It’s hard to know what’s going on with insects sometimes. Also, katydid eggs are typically beige and look like seeds. it is very easy to distinguish them from droppings.

  111. Annabelle,

    Katydids really don’t eat much anyway and usually do so at night. So it’s perfectly normal for your katydid to be spending most of it’s time at the top of it’s cage.

  112. David,

    My biggest piece of advice for hatching your katydids is to keep the eggs warm and very humid! Since they are from Malaysia especially, they should be kept in at least 80% humidity. They should take anywhere from 2-4 months to hatch. I wish it was easy to swap, but in the US we need all kinds of special permits and it’s a very complicated process. I also don’t really have anything to offer right now. If you have any other questions, you can send an e-mail to blogadmin@hmns.org and I should be able to answer you more promptly. Thanks for reading!

  113. Hi Erin,

    I’m an orthoptera enthusiast from France and I’m pretty much in love with katydids :) I’ve been looking for live Macrolyristes corporalis specimens for ages ! From whom did you get yours and how much were they ? It was nice to read your story, this species should be more widespread in the hobby, they’re a real show stopper !

  114. Wow. What an unbelievable set. The final image made me gasp out loud. It’s just beautiful.

  115. YEAH! What a great Christmas gift. Our Katydids started hatching today. So far we have 2 beautiful babies out of 38 eggs. We hope the others hatch too. Our 3 year old son is so excited. I was wondering should we play with them? I am scared because they are so fragile. But he keeps asking to hold it. Thank you so much and I am a proud mommy again and again. Happy Holidays to all Katydid lovers. Cheers!
    Ty J

  116. Hi TY,

    I know this is a little late, but I would not suggest “playing” with the baby katydids because they are very fragile, very jumpy, and they can get stressed out easily which can kill them. However, you may find that they are calm and will stay on your hand. If this is the case I’d say it would be fine to handle them, just sparingly!

  117. You are all crazy. We live outside San Antonio on three acres. The katydids are everywhere. I probably have have had a hundred or more clinging to the exterior of our home constantly for the past two weeks. They are eating all of the leaves of my numerous live oak trees. Their dead messy carcasses are on our sidewalks and porches. Their poop is all over the sidewalks and in/around our pool. It is impossible to keep the pool clean from all of their poop. Their ‘mating’ sound is loud and constant throughout the night. Come and get all of the katydids you want. I am sure I have thousands of them. At $25-30 each I will be a millionaire soon.

  118. Hi Erin!
    I found your sight in trying to determine the purpose of the Katydid’s. We have lived in TX about 6 yrs and came across these the last couple summers. Had to take one to church to find out what it was. I don’t want to be unkind, but we have had it with these bugs. They are all over out patios and hanging onto the house and everything around it. They are green or brown and seem to slowely die, and leave a big mess of yuck behind (as well as their own bodies). I am pulling my hair out. I have been exploring, trying to understand their purpose, and why we are unindated with them. I would pack them all up and take them to a beautiful field if I thought they would never come back. We live on 5 acres, don’t know if that is why we have so many. Can you fill me in on why they are here on my patios and why they lay around dying everywhere?

    Thank you so much!
    Cindy

  119. John and Cindy,

    I’m sorry to hear about the negative experiences that you have been having with the katydids! This is definitely not the norm when it comes to these insects. They are solitary so therefore usually go on noticed and cause no damage to plants or property. They are, however, related to grasshoppers and crickets and in certain areas, certain environmental conditions can cause these insects to swarm. This is much more common in grasshoppers than in katydids and crickets. I’m sure you’re familiar with the term locust which refers to grasshoppers that swarm and migrate recking havoc to anything in their paths! Scientists are familiar with conditions of weather and food supply that cause grasshoppers top do this, but it’s not quite as clear why it happens in katydids. More than likely since both of you live on large plots of land, you have more vegetation around so naturally you have more bugs and you must have high concentrations of food they like (such as oak). Maybe you just have a popular spot where lots of eggs were laid and the offspring don’t feel the need to disperse. They grow and stick around searching for a mate, then lay eggs in the same area, so the same thing happens season after seaon. I’m sorry I cannot give you a definite answer for why this is happening. I’m afraid it’s just a part of living in the country. if it wasn’t this type of bug bothering you, it would most likely be another! Good luck!

  120. This cracks me up…I came upon this website for the same reason as the last 2 posters. I live in New Braunfels, TX on 3 heavily vegitated acres and these insects are EVERYWHERE!!!! Their dead body parts are all over my porch and they are all over my house and the rafters in the porch overhang. I’m sorry but they creep me out and I’m terrified to go outside because I don’t care for bugs, especially ones that big that keep jumping out at me
    when I walk past. I’ve heard that they change colors as they age…some are green, some brown, some reddish. Is this true? And the one thing nobody mentioned is that they bite! Hard!!! EEK! I was hoping to find an answer as to how long they’d hang around before they start to die off. There are too many for my comfort level. They hang out above my door and I am afraid to walk out for fear of them landing on me!! Yuck! And the noise at night is deafening! Even from inside my house!!

  121. Hi Sarah,

    Well, I’ll say it again, if you don’t like bugs, perhaps the country is not the best place to live!Insects are the most abundant life form on the planet and the outdoors are kind of their territory! The color and appearrance of katydids can change slightly as they grow, depending on the species. The species you have sounds like the truncated true katydid which does have a red form, which is usually the form seen during outbreaks. There have been outbreaks of this species in the past in the Texas Hill Country and judging from the last 3 comments, it must be happening again! There are several factors that may be causing this. perhaps the drought last year followed by more rains this year? They love to eat oaks so if your property is covered in them, as most are, that’s why they are there. I’m sorry I can’t tell you how long it will last. Their entire life span is probably only about 6 months. This will probably go throughout the summer, but may taper off as we get into the warmer months of summer. You’re right, they are capable of biting, they have strong jaws for chewing up leaves, but they are not aggressive and will only bite in self defense. Again, I’m sorry for the inconvenience you’re experienceing, but Insects have been around for millions of years and well, they’re going to do what they’re going to do! You will just have to ride it out!

  122. Thank you for your response Erin. And thank you for the information you have shared. You are absolutely right, the country is not my forte. I am only renting, luckily and will be moving in 2 months to the city. I’m dad to say, insects are part of the reason I am leaving this otherwise pleasant property. In the year I have lived here we have been plagued by ants, moths, mosquito hawks, spiders, scorpions, some sort of fuzzy caterpillars, millipedes and now katydids. I am done, lol. I wish I wasn’t afraid of insects, but sadly, I am. That being said, your website is very neat and informative and you have many happy followers. Best regards : )

  123. Oh It’s my pleasure Sarah! I only wish everyone appreciated insects as much as I do, but as they say “different strokes…”. I’m sorry to hear that they are driving you away from your home! You definitely won’t be safe from bugs in the city as long as your in Texas, but there will be less! Thank you for taking the time to stop by the site and I appreciate your kind words! Good luck!

  124. I know this is not the purpose of your website but since the subject came up…..does anyone know how to get rid of the brown, tobacco spit-looking droppings that are all over my porch for this katydid invasion? Thanks so much.

  125. Hi Erin, Greetings from Diamond Jubilee Land :)

    Your blog and responses has been an enormous help as I plan to house my first batch of Katydid nymphs. Collecting 10 this Friday :) Not Malaysian ones sadly, but still the very beautiful Florida ones – stilpnochlora couloniana

    My previous experience with bugs has been limited to Crickets/Locusts of different shapes and sizes as livefood for my Chameleon, Geckos, other small reptiles and amphibians. But after weekly visits for years to my nearest reptile/invert seller, I have become very attracted to insects, and once I saw the Katydid nymphs it was almost love at first sight LOL

    All of my reptiles/amphibs are housed in 100% naturally planted enclosures/vivariums. I intend to do exactly the same for the Katydids!

    I have just bought a 30″ x 16″ x 16″ ZooMed ReptiBreeze, and tomorrow will put in some substrate and branches. I also have an easy supply of fresh Bramble, Buddleia, Raspberry, and Hawthorn and will use the green stuff florists use to keep flowers fresh, as a way of keeping their bramble etc moist.

    Just want to check a couple of things:
    1) how much natural sunlight would they thrive in per day? As we often get grey skies in London, should I think about additional electric lamps?
    2) This is an all-mesh enclosure so how do you ensure good humidity? Is a layer of bottom substrate and twice a day misting sufficient?
    3) The median temperature in the room I intend to keep them in is around 70/80 Fahrenheit each day dropping to around 50 minimum at night. Do you think I ought to get a heat mat too?
    4) I am aware that insects do not always have super long lives, but I do want to give them the best possible environment in captivity. Hopefully, I will have a mix of females and males and eggs will follow as a mini colony that keeps on populating would be the ideal solution

    I have definitely found your blog the most informative online but any final reassurance/guidance before they arrive on Friday would be awesome.

    Thanks a million in advance

  126. Hi Nigel! I will do my best to answer your questions!

    -A lamp would not be a bad idea. The insects I care for live indoors in a room with no windows. Sunlight is not a necessity for all insects to survive, especially nocturnal ones such as katydids. I have had them thrive off of nothing but artificial flourescent lighting. I do use lamps though because I find they enjoy the extra heat from them and if they seem to enjuoy something, I try to use it. A happy bug is a healthy bug!

    -The species you are getting does require a bit of humidity, but not as much as tropical species. I would say misting the substrate and the enclosure a couple of times a week would definitely be sufficient.

    – 70-80 degrees during the day is perfect. If the temp gets down to 50 at night, they should still be ok. Insects can survive in any temps above freezing. Cooler temps actually will slow them down and MAY cause them to live a bit longer? I would try to keep it closer to 60 though, just to be safe since night time is when they tend to be the most active.

    If you get males and females, they will most likely mate and lay eggs. Keeping their habitat as natural as possible will definitely help to ensure this. It’s not a bad idea to have lots of sticks of varying thicknesses and textures, sticks with live foliage that are refreshed as needed (inspect for eggs before you throw the old ones out), and a lamp on for 12 hours followed by 12 hours of complete darkness will all be beneficial! I hope you find this advice helpful, but it sounds like you know what you’re doing! Sorry if i didn’t respond as quickly as you’d hoped! Thank you and good luck!!

  127. Thanks for the great reply Erin. It is now Day 3 of Katydids, and there are 2 key problems I feel I am having and wonder if you have any tips:

    1. I am really struggling to keep humidity over 35% which is way to low. I am guessing natural humidity in their habitat is definitely much higher than that even though they are not tropical as such. I think a key problem is that England is not a very humid country and my enlcosure is mesh. I am considering moving them to a plastic enclosure with drilled holes for ventilation/air flow. I am having to mist almost every couple of hours but this too is not keeping anywhere decent levels of humidity.

    2. I was using the green oasis foam that florists use to keep the buddleia and bramble in (and again hoping this water soaked block would aid humidity) – but the branches are wilting badly after less than 24 hours…

    3. I have a small tray of damp forest substrate mixed with desert sand just to have another source of moisture but that too is not helping humidity.

    Otherwise they are eating away and they sure know how to go to the toilet, so I am busy keeping the floor of the enclosure clean!!

    Thanks again and look forward to your reply

  128. Hi again Erin, One other question – if I continue to house them in the Mesh Enclosure, I am definitely going to invest in some lighting – probably a spot type bulb in a dome canopy fitting. What wattage is adequate for Katydids – I want them to be warm, but obviously not fry! I am also thinking maybe the extra heat will encourage moisture evaporation and ultimatley also help with humidity. Thank you again, Nigel

  129. Hi Nigel! Well, don’t worry too much about your katydids! They are very hardy and the lack of humidity isn’t quite as big of a deal as you think. It is true, their natural habitat is a bit more humid. They are mostly found in Florida. I keep native katydids here at around 30-40% humidity and the ambient humidity in Houston is of course, usually much higher than that! If you’re worried about that, than I would suggest covering the outside of the walls in of your enclosure with plastic wrap. I like to use glad press and seal, do ya’ll have that there? Otherwise, saran or cling wrap would work too. I would just put the bramble and other foliage in jars or vases of water to keep them alive, it will work much better than the foam you are using.

    As far as lighting, again, there is no need to overthink it. I just use a 50 or 75 watt bulb. They don’t need it to survive or thrive, but just enjoy the extra heat, so you should not need anymore than that! Good luck!

  130. That’s really reassuring Erin, and yes they do seem to be thriving already in their enclosure. I have added a lot of bramble and buddleia, and using your earlier tip of fresh romaine lettuce. I am going to sort out the lighting just so they have some heat. Thanks again – I keep scanning through your blog as it is by far the best source of Katydid info online!

    I am now trying to find some of the Malaysian Katydids and it is great to hear they can happiyl cohabit providing the enclosure is tall and spacious enough!

    PS Glad press & seal we ain’t got lol

  131. Well, that is really a great compliment Nigel, thank you! I’m so glad that you have found my blog so helpful! I really need to put up some new posts. It’s been nearly a year since my last one, but I have been SO busy!

    Sorry for the Texas lingo, lol! And it should be “we aint got no glad press and seal”!

  132. Sorry to bombarb you with more questions (honestly, I did scroll through this entire blog to see if the question had been asked & answered previously!!). In my mesh enclosure 16″ wide 16″ deep 30″ tall, currently on your advice, naturally planted to resemble their natural habitat as much as possible, what is the total number of adults that could be expected to share such a space. the last thing I want to do is have overcrowding. By the way, I installed a dome canopy with lighting and they definitely are enjoying the extra heat a lot more – they are almost all congregated on leaves near the top :) Thank you again

  133. Katydids are one of my favorite insects(the praying mantis may be my favorite though)Katydids are very fascinating indeed. :)

  134. i was wondering why katydids die after laying their eggs? why don’t they just live a little bit longer?
    because i had two females, and they both laid eggs, after 3 days, they both died. :S
    can you give me any answers for this?

  135. I’ve had this male common garden katydid as a pet for a few months now since I found him in my garden as a nymph. Last night I cleaned out his living area and gave him a celery leaf and a piece of strawberry. Ever since late last night he hasn’t moved, only moving very little if I lightly nudge him. I’m not sure whats wrong with him…

  136. Hi Erin!

    I happened to stumble across your blog post after doing some research on Katydid eggs.

    Why was I doing research on Katydid eggs, you might wonder? Well, it’s pretty simple…

    Back in October (2012), we had a visitor at dinner time: a Katydid! It came by and hung out on our balcony sliding door for a while. (I had no idea we even had these little guys here in Southern California!)

    Early in November (2012), I found a string of odd looking “seeds” on the wire of one of my wind chimes. I’d been meaning to look up what they were, but never got around to it, until now. And after looking it up, they ended up being Katydid eggs!

    So, our little visitor back in October left us with 24-25 eggs!

    I want to see them hatch! I know not all will make it, but it would be a neat “cycle of life” to witness, especially for my young boys! I almost feel as though she’s (the Katydid) entrusted us with her children. But I have no idea how to go about making sure the eggs are ok. Obviously, in the wild, without any human eyes, they’d just fend for themselves. But as they’re RIGHT outside my balcony window, I feel almost responsible for them, haha!

    Any tips on what I can do for them? Should do? Shouldn’t do? Etc…?

    Thanks! ^_^

  137. Hi Anne Marie! I’m so glad that you want to share this experience with your boys. It is very fun and interesting to watch insects grow and it teaches children about nature and how different animals grow and develop! If the eggs were to hatch where they are, it would more than likely happen without you knowing it and the little nymphs would scatter away quickly. If you want to keep some of them, I would try to very carefully and gently remove some of the eggs from the wire and place them in a small aquarium with a well fitting lid. Tiny katydid nymphs can escapre through small openings! You can just kind of sprinkle the eggs down in the dirt at the bottom of the aquarium, but you shouldn’t bury them. Be sure to put several sticks in the aquarium for them to cling to and some foliage would also help. You can also add romaine lettuce and other fruits and vegetables for them to try. You want to keep the habitat moist, but not wet. Humidity is important to insects and it tends to be drier indoors. They should also be in a warm part of your home. I hope these eggs hatch for you and you guys can observe the lifecycle! Let me know if you have any more questions!

  138. Thanks for the info, Erin! I’m definitely gonna try this out! I’ll let you know how it goes! ^_^

  139. Hi Erin…Gosh, i wish i had come across your blog much sooner. 2.5 months ago, a Katydid appeared on our garage wall. Being one of her hind legs and a middle leg was missing, i decided to care for her.

    Life was going great for Katydid..She began to strengthen to the point where she’d chirp a couple of times each night.
    Recently, her belly has gotten larger and she doesnt move as much. I’ve been hand-feeding her lettuce, hibiscus flowers, mashed bananas, and would leave water-soaked cotton balls on the leaves of her plants.

    Tonight, she barely moved, hardly ate/drank…and for some odd reason, she attacked her middle leg to the point where she can no longer use this leg, which means she is down to her 2 front legs, and one hind leg.
    She seems weak ,but its clear shes trying her best to stay alive..

    I’m wondering if it’s possible for her to remain alive in this condition. She already had a difficult time getting around with 4 legs, now she only has 3. I can’t seem to understand why she would attack her own leg :(

    I would appreciate any information/advice you could share with me..I’ve grown so fond of this Katydid…i want to do what’s best for her..
    Could you please help the both of us?

    Thank you so much…Jan Ishimine

  140. Hi Jan! Well, you may find it comforting to know that number of legs does not usually affect the ability of an insect in captivity to survive, as long it doesn’t restrict movement so much that it keeps them from being able to get food. I’m not sure excatly why she would attack her leg. Sometimes insects have unusual behavior that we don’t understand simply because we cannot get into their brains! The only logical explanation would be if she injured her leg and neededto remove it because it was too much of a burden. This is often the case with insects. I would just keep caring for her like you have been, sounds like you’re doing a great job! The decrease in her acticity may also just be because she is aging and nearing the end of her lifespan. If you live in the U.S. the katydid you have found has a predetermined lifespan of less than a year, usually about 6-8 months. So, if she was already an adult when you found her, she could have been a good way through her lifespan. If she does pass away, you can rest assured that it was not because of anything you did. Insects only grace us with their presence for a short time!

  141. Hi Erin, I also wish i had known about your site earlier. I have recenty moved to Malaysia and now have a male and female Giant Malay Katydid. I
    am trying to get them to lay. In your article you don’t say what this species lay their eggs in – is it in the soil, in rotten wood or in plant stems. Also how long do they take to hatch? Great to find someone who has had success! Congratulations.

  142. Hi Erin, I also wish i had known about your site earlier. I have recenty moved to Malaysia and now have a male and female Giant Malay Katydid. I

    am trying to get them to lay. In your article you don’t say what this species lay their eggs in – is it in the soil, in rotten wood or in plant stems. Also how long do they take to hatch? Great to find someone who has had success! Congratulations.

  143. Hi David! From my experience, the females have preferred to lay their eggs in very soft, rotten wood. If none of that is present, they will lay their eggs in any number of places – the soil along with other nooks and crannies in their habitat. The eggs will take anywhere from 2-4 months to hatch. The eggs start out looking very slender, but if they are viable, as they get closer to hatching they will grow and swell. Right before they hatch, the eggs will look a lot fatter! If they show no signs of growth after a few months, that probably means they will not hatch. I am having some eggs hatch right now as a matter of fact! I love raising this species! Are you friends with Yen Saw? He e-mailed me this same question about a friend who lives in malaysia. Good luck!

  144. Hi! My daughter found some Katydid eggs today and we are wondering if we could care for them and watch them hatch and grow with her class, or if we should just let nature do its thing. If we could care for them, what’s the best way? Thanks so much!!
    Wendi

  145. Wow So cool, I found a katydid too its weird to have him around my house i think it had a baby worm I really don’t know for some reason I put him in a bottle with alluminion I put holes so it wont die and its not moving its just there doing nothing like a rock lol please write back thank you

  146. Hi Erin. A few weeks ago, my stepdad found and caught a Katydid in our yard. I have been feeding it for roughly 3 weeks, it is living happily in a plastic octagonal aquarium, along with pine needles and a twig that my daughter put in. Imagine my surprise when today my littl e girl, whos 6, asked me what the seed looking things were on the twig… and asked if they were eggs… I looked online and came across this site. Indeed they are eggs! I live in the high desert in california and I really think that us having our bug and babies would make a great science fair project. Any info you can give on this subject would be wonderful.

  147. We found our little girl wandering the property in New Mexico!

    Brought her in, made a little home out of a Habitrail OVO (was previously used as our hamster’s travel cage) and have been feeding her regularly, occasionally handling her, etc. It’s been maybe 26 days, and yesterday she started laying eggs on the sticks in her home (basically coating the whole surfaces with them.)

    Now, while I’ve been finding lots of information on how long the eggs hatch, etc. There’s one thing I’m wondering…how long do the eggs gestate in the Katydid before she lays them? And if a katydid isn’t preggers, would she still lay her eggs out of habit? Just wondering as she’s the first we’ve seen in these areas for the seven years we’ve lived here.

  148. Hello Ayaa! Sorry I’ve taken awhile to write back! I can’t tell you how long the eggs are inside the female’s body before they are fertilized. They typically begin producing eggs when they are sexually mature and start laying them once she mates. This time frame probably varies from species to species and to my knowledge, such specific information is not readily available! I can tell you that the eggs don’t start developing (gestating) until they are laid, because they are typically fertilized as they are laid. Female insects will sometimes, but not always, lay eggs that are unfertilized out of instinct. The only real way to tell if the eggs have been fertilized, though, is if they hatch! Katydid eggs typically take from 2 to 4 months to hatch, depending on conditions.

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