Thursday, January 12, 2006

We are from France - Coneheads in America

I would have guessed the record for the loudest insect in the United States would go to one of the cicadas, however the record goes to the Robust Conehead Katydid which has a incredibly loud buzzing song that can be heard at 500 meters. I'm pretty sure I tried to sleep in a field at Fort Dix, New Jersey with a few of these and other types of Katydids making an incredible racket around me.

An interesting website I found is called the Singing Insects of North America. Its a collection of files, including audio on the major groups of singing insects, the grasshoppers, Katydids and Crickets and the Cicadas.

I also learned about some critters I never knew about, large western ground crickets called Grigs. They remind me a bit of the gigantic New Zealand crickets called Wetas. A female Wetapunga has the record for the world's heaviest insect. She weighed 71 grams and was 85mm long without the ovipositor. That's about the weight of 3 mice.

A new book is out on the Field Guide to the Grasshoppers, Katydids and Crickets of the United States. It should spark more interest in these noisy little beasts.

For the definitive Orthoptera site see the Orthoptera Species File Online.

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