Crickets and Katydids

A katydid found in Central Texas. Photo by Bart Drees. A Central Texas leaf katydid, Paracyrtophyllus robustus. Photo by Lucille Marburger.

A Central Texas leaf katydid, Paracyrtophyllus robustus. Photo by Lucille Marburger.

Crickets and katydids (insect Order Orthoptera) can become abundant around homes and in ornamental areas.  Once they become fully-winged adults, field crickets are attracted to night lights. They can build up into really large numbers in the fall.

Other orthopterans can also be attracted to night lights, including katydids.  In addition, katydids can feed on leaves, and occasionally cause concern as illustrated in this e-mail:

May 2012

Thank you for looking at this (see image above). These arrived about three weeks ago. At first, they where green with a lot of irradiant colors. They also had a turned up rear end and no wings. The picture here, is what I believe they have changed to after eating mostly broad leaf plants like roses, red leaf photinias and live oaks. It could be two different insects, but I believe they are the same.

Katydid outbreak at a motel in Fort Bend County, Texas, 2009. Photo by Bart Drees.

Katydid outbreak at a motel in Fort Bend County, Texas, 2009. Photo by Bart Drees.

Crickets. Photo by Bart Drees.

Crickets. Photo by Bart Drees.

Ed Riley, Associate Curator of the Texas A&M Insect Collection, determined the species in the image above to be Paracyrtophyllus robustus (Truncated True Katydid), called the “Central Texas Leaf-Katydid.” This term was first used by Taber & Fleenor in 2003. According to Mr. Riley, “Central Texas is all abuzz about this one, apparently an ‘outbreak’ this year.” Ms. Marburger responded that it seems to her the outbreaks have come in 2007, 2010 and now in 2012, after drought years when rain has returned.”