Black-Legged Meadow Katydid

Orchelimum nigripes


Image of black-legged meadow katydid
Female black-legged meadow katydid.
Shelly Cox

Tettigoniidae (katydids) in the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, katydids, crickets)


This is one of the most beautiful of our native katydids. A medium-sized grasshopper-like insect, it has a blue-green body, red eyes and long black hind legs, from which the common name was derived. The call begins with two or three "tics" followed by a gradually widening buzz: tic-tic buzzzzzzzzz, tic-tic-tic buzzzzzzzzz.


Length: 1 to 1 1/2 inches.

Habitat and conservation

Usually found in prairies, meadows, grassy and weedy areas, backyard gardens and wetlands. They seem to prefer moist, grassy areas.


This species feeds on various types of grasses. Occasionally it may become a pest of gardens.

image of Black-Legged Meadow Katydid Distribution Map
Distribution in Missouri


Life cycle

As with most members of the grasshopper order, males sing to attract females. Each species has a distinct song, which makes it possible to identify them by song alone (just as birders can identify unseen birds by their calls). Females lay their eggs within plant tissue or sometimes in the soil.

Human connections

These katydids are harmless to humans. Their songs add to nature's symphony. This species also provides a fun game for observers, who play "ring-around-the-rosy" with the katydid as it circles around the opposite side of a plant, hiding from view.

Ecosystem connections

Although they can become an occasional pest in gardens, where they can feed on a wide variety of plants, they are not known to cause significant damage.