Common True Katydid

Pterophylla camellifolia

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


The wings of this green katydid look almost exactly like leaves. Katydids, as a group, are close relatives of grasshoppers and crickets and are distinguished by their long antennae; vertically positioned wings that form a roof over the body; and the flattened, bladelike ovipositor that protrudes from the end of the female’s abdomen. This species of katydid is identified by the humplike cup formed by the wings; the many prominent wing veins; and two grooves running side-to-side on the pronotum (the collarlike plate between the head and wings). Even if you cannot see these katydids, you are certain to hear them on hot summer nights, as they rasp their loud mating calls from high in trees: “Katy did! Katy didn’t!”


Length: to about 2½ inches (not counting legs, wings, or antennae).

Common True Katydid

A large green katydid is perched on a deck railing. Its eyes are yellow on top and green on the bottom.
Katydid in Defiance, MO
Habitat and conservation

This species of katydid is arboreal: It lives in trees. They are slow walkers, and tend to jump only when frightened. The wings function mainly as parachutes, breaking their fall after they leap. Because they generally remain in high treetops, they are rarely seen until cool weather in autumn makes them clumsy and causes them to land, more and more, on the ground.


Common true katydids eat leaves in the deciduous trees they inhabit.

image of Common True Katydid Distribution Map
Distribution in Missouri



Common. This is but one of several species of katydids in Missouri. Katydids (as a family) are also sometimes called long-horned grasshoppers, long-horned meadow grasshoppers, or bush crickets. Other names for this species include northern katydid, true katydid, and rough-winged katydid.

Life cycle

The raucous nighttime calling of males attracts females for mating. Late in the season, the pregnant female uses her sword-shaped ovipositor to insert eggs into bark crevices in trees, and the eggs overwinter there, hatching in spring. As with other insects, this species molts through a number of immature, wingless stages before a final molt in which they emerge as winged, sexually mature adults. There is one brood (generation) per year.

Human connections

Missouri’s nighttime chorus of insect sounds has been likened to a symphony. If that’s the case, then katydids certainly perform some of the loudest solos during our hottest summer nights.

Ecosystem connections

Common true katydids are leaf eaters and are preyed upon by numerous birds, snakes, and other predators that hunt in treetops. One clue that they might be preyed upon heavily is their exquisite camouflage: Hiding from something is very important to them!