|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
Tettigoniids are the most speciose of the ensiferan families. Ancestral Permian katydids (Sharov 1968) have diversified into almost 6000 living species in 1070 genera (Otte 1997). These large orthopterans (from 1 to 6 cm) are known as katydids in the New World and Australia-New Zealand (where one also hears "long-horned grasshopper") whereas in Britain and Europe tettigoniids are "bushcrickets" (sauterelles in France, esperanás in Portugal, grillos in Spain, and Laubheuschrecken in Germany (Nickle and Naskrecki 1997)).
Katydids are found on all continents except Antarctica and in an assortment of habitats from tropical forests (Heller 1995) and peat bogs (Vickery and Kevan 1985) to montane alpine zones "far above the last outposts of trees"(Tinkham 1944). Within these habitats, virtually all tettigoniids are associated with vegetation, particularly during inactive periods when the insects retreat into (or onto) leaves. These habits are best known for cryptic species whose wings mimic leaves (Belwood 1990; Nickle and Castner 1995) or sticks (Rentz 1993: see title photographs) but even ground-dwelling, flightless katydids will use the cover of vegetation when inactive. In contrast, most other ensiferans use burrows in soil (Kevan 1989) and holes in wood (exceptions include vegetation-inhabiting grylloids such as Eneopterinae and Trigonidiinae).
Most katydids are omnivorous, feeding on vegetation, seeds, carrion and occasional prey. There are a few specialists such as the pollen-eating Zaprochilinae (Rentz 1993) and carnivorous Saginae (Kaltenbach 1990). Feeding by katydids can damage crops, but a significant economic impact is rare because population densities are usually low. Exceptions are tettigoniine and conocephaline pests (Jago 1997; Mbata 1992), especially species that aggregate in swarms or bands, e.g. the flightless Mormon crickets (Anabrus simplex) of western North America that migrate in large bands (MacVean 1987). Positive impacts on humans include the use of some katydids as food (MacVean 1987) and as "singing pets" in China where the market price for a "cultured" male songster can reach $US 16.00 (Jin 1993).
Thanks to: Gwynne, Darryl T. and Morris, Glenn K. 2002. Tettigoniidae. Katydids, Long-horned Grasshoppers and Bushcrickets. Version 26 November 2002. http://tolweb.org/Tettigoniidae/13298/2002.11.26 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/
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