What insect looks like a green leaf? – true katydids – leaf bugs

katydid leaf bug

Those green bugs that look like leaves are called true katydids.  Katydids enjoy all the leafy plants in our front yard.  We were so close to this wondrous green bug that we observed its mouth and eyes moving.

green leaf bug
Green bug that looks like a leaf

The British often call these leaf insects bush crickets.  Katydids or bush crickets are in the family Tettigoniidae.  They are not grasshoppers, katydids are related to crickets.  Grasshoppers have shorter antennae while family member tettigoniids have very long antennae.

katydid leaf bug
green bug that looks like a leaf

Katydids, True Katydids or Northern Katydids are insects that really do not like to fly!  To avoid danger they may leap out of a tree and parachute to the ground.  Katydids will walk to a vertical surface and start climbing.

The most common color of katydids is leaf green.  As a matter of fact, this bug is a master at camouflage with veins on its wings that look just like leaves.  Katydids eat flowers, stems and leaves of plants.  Some species will even eat other insects.

katydid
katydid green grasshopper like bug

Many species are commonly found throughout the southern part of the United States. These bush crickets, katydids are most active at night.

green katydid
green leaf insect – katydid

True Katydid species come in a variety of sizes from 1 to 4 inches.  Their antennae can be two times the length of their body.

katydid
True Katydid also called Bush Cricket, Northern Katydid

Male and female katydid sounds are made by rubbing their wings together to produce a song that is used as part of the courtship.  It sounds a bit like your fingernails moving across a comb.

green and pink katydid insects
true katydids are bugs that look like leaves

Interesting fact:  The Katydid’s hearing organ, tympana, ears, are on their front legs.

katydid
katydids look like a leaf insect

click on the short youtube video to hear the sounds of the katydid bugs

The life cycle of the katydid goes through three stages of development:

  1. egg
  2. nymph
  3. adult

The katydid egg is laid in the fall and hatches in the spring.  It will hatch as a nymph.

katydid nymph
katydid nymph, baby

The katydid nymph looks like the adult but without wings.  It will shed its skin several times as it becomes an adult.  The lifespan of the katydid is about 1 year.

young katydid baby
young katydid nymph

You may be the lucky few who get to see the rare pink katydid.  The lack of dark pigment, melanin, is the major difference between the pink and the green katydids.

pink katydid
rare pink katydid insect
pink and green leaf bugs
Pink Katydid with a green katydid

Melanin, is the same pigment that makes a panther black.  Like the pink katydid… would the lack of pigment make it similar to a pink panther?  No wonder The Pink Panther was bad at hiding; he had no camouflage!

 

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Author: tjsgarden

We are a family that loves the Arizona Desert. A lot of research and team efforts go into our articles and photos. Come discover the beauty and mystery with us. Don't forget your sunscreen!

48 thoughts on “What insect looks like a green leaf? – true katydids – leaf bugs”

  1. I’m in Boca Raton Florida and came out of my Doctors office and one was sitting on the roof of my car. Wouldn’t leave and so I couldn’t leave and take it away from the nearby tree. Finally tapped my nails on the roof but took several attempts and he or she flew right into the tree. So very beautiful. It never seemed afraid of me. Are they always so gentle?

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  2. Viewed Katydid this evening! What an amazing insect. My grandson was so taken with his color, a bright green; shape, like a leaf; and his size, about 4 in long. Thanks for all the information you gave us concerning True Katydids. M. Rice, Lou., KY

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