Tettigoniidae

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The family Tettigoniidae, known in American English as katydids and in British English as bush-crickets, contains more than 6,400 species. It is part of the suborder Ensifera and the only family in the superfamily Tettigonioidea. They are also known as long-horned grasshoppers, although they are more closely related to crickets than to grasshoppers.

Many tettigoniids exhibit mimicry and camouflage, commonly with shapes and colors similar to leaves.

Contents

Description and life cycle

Tettigoniids may be distinguished from grasshoppers by the length of their filamentous antennae, which may exceed their own body length, while grasshoppers' antennae are always relatively short and thickened.

The males of tettigoniids have sound-producing organs (via stridulation) located on the hind angles of their front wings. In some species females are also capable of stridulation. The males provide a nuptial gift for the females in the form of a spermatophylax, a body attached to the males' spermatophore which is consumed by the female. The function of the spermatophylax is to increase the attachment time of the males' spermatophore and thereby increase his paternity.[1]

The eggs of tettigoniids are typically oval shaped and laid in rows on the host plant.

Distribution

There are about 255 species in North America, but the majority of species live in the tropical regions of the world.

Ecology

The diet of tettigoniids includes leaves, flowers, bark, and seeds, but many species are exclusively predatory, feeding on other insects, snails or even small vertebrates such as snakes and lizards. Some are also considered pests by commercial crop growers and are sprayed to limit growth. Large tettigoniids can inflict a painful bite or pinch if handled but seldom break the skin.

Some species of bush crickets are consumed by people, like the nsenene (Ruspolia baileyi) in Uganda and neighbouring areas.

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