There are thousands of grasshoppers, katydids, locusts, and crickets in the Orthopteran insect order. One of the most well-known Orthoptera insects is the grasshopper. The katydid belongs to the Tettigoniidae family of grasshoppers, which contains the katydid. Orthoptera’s largest insect family, Tettigoniidae, has more than 7200 species. Although the katydid and grasshopper belong to the same order, there are many differences between the two. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at eight important differences between these two insects!
Katydid vs Grasshopper: A Comparison
|0.2-5.1 in (5-130 mm)
|0.39 – 2.75 in (10 – 70 mm)
|Green and Brown
|Long Antennae, Thin Legs, 2 Oblong Wings
|Short Antennae, Thick Back Legs, 2 Pairs of Wing Sets
|Cosmetic Damage To Plants, Rarely Bite, Nocturnal, Non-Toxic
|Cosmetic Damage To Plants, May Bite In Swarms, Diurnal, Non-Toxic
|Omnivorous, Plants And Insects
|Vegetarian, Plants, Mostly Grasses
|1 Year Or Less; Several Years In Tropical Regions
|Everywhere But Antarctica In Wet Forests, Shrubs, And Weeds
|Everywhere But Antarctica In Wet Or Dry Grassy, Low-Level Areas
|Comes Out At Night; Sings and Eats Plants and Insects
|Comes Out During Day; Chirps and Eats Grasses
Key Differences Between Katydid vs Grasshopper
A key difference between katydids and grasshoppers is that the antennae of katydids are often longer than the length of their bodies, and they possess sharp, pointed ovipositors. Whereas, grasshoppers have short, thick antennae and blunt ovipositors.
Katydids and grasshoppers both have hind legs that allow them to jump high. This ability is helpful for a more secure takeoff. Katydids, however, do not have noticeably arched legs like the grasshopper. These are not the only differences between them. Let’s take a closer look at their distinctions.
Katydid vs Grasshopper: Size
Grasshoppers measure between 0.39 and 2.75 inches in length, while katydids are between 0.2 and 5.1 inches.
Katydid vs Grasshopper: Colors
In addition to the standard shades of green and brown, grasshoppers can also be found in hues of orange, pink, and even crimson and blue. In general, katydids are green, although they can also be tan, brown, or yellow.
Katydid vs Grasshopper: Physical Features
Grasshoppers are characterized by their huge eyes, short antennae, and two sets of wings. They can take flight with these wings, but they also use their well-built rear legs to leap from plant to plant. The ovipositor (egg-laying organ) of the katydid is longer than that of the grasshopper, and their wings are more oval. The katydid is a poor flyer, but their wings aid them in their leaps. The antennas of these two bugs are the easiest method to tell them apart: A grasshopper has short antennae. A katydid is identified by its long antennae.
Katydid vs Grasshopper: Danger
Leaf-eating insects such as grasshoppers and katydids can create large irregular holes in leaves. However, these insects aren’t known to harm commercially significant crops, and the damage they do in the home landscape is only cosmetic.
Although katydids aren’t known to be harmful to humans or other animals, they have been known to bite on occasion. Because their jaws are powerful, they could inflict a little bite wound. However, they are not poisonous and the bite should heal fast. Katydids are nocturnal (come out at night), so it is unlikely that you will come in direct contact with one.
Grasshoppers rarely bite people, but species that congregate in big swarms may bite if they feel threatened. Insect bites from grasshoppers aren’t toxic. However, it may cause some discomfort at first. These insects are diurnal (come out during the day) unlike the katydid, so you are more likely to spot a grasshopper swarm than a single katydid.
Katydid vs Grasshopper: Diet
Grasshoppers are plant-eating vegetarians, consuming primarily grasses. There are some varieties of grasshoppers that are agricultural pests in Africa and Asia that consume crops. The katydid is considered omnivorous since it occasionally eats other, smaller insects outside of their typical plant diet.
Katydid vs Grasshopper: Lifespan
It’s not uncommon for katydid species to live for just a few months. During the winter, only one stage of the life cycle (typically the eggs) can survive. Some species, on the other hand, can live for several years in the tropics. A typical grasshopper lives for one year.
Habitats and Habits
Katydid vs Grasshopper: Habitat
The katydids are found on every continent except Antarctica, and there are over 6,400 species of them! This insect is mostly found in moist areas of deciduous forests, shrubs, and tall weeds. It can be found on goldenrods and other early fall annuals in late summer.
Grasshoppers may be found on every continent except Antarctica, with more than 10,000 species! They can dwell in a wide variety of habitats, including dry locations with a lot of grass and other low-level plants.
Katydid vs Grasshopper: Habits
A katydid prefers to remain hidden throughout the day. During the evenings, it goes outside to feed, jump, and sing upon various plants. Because grasshoppers are not nocturnal, you may expect to see and hear them doing the same thing during the day.
Both the katydid and the grasshopper are “singing insects.” Using different body parts, they make a sound by rubbing them together. Grasshopper and cricket calls sound similar, but katydid calls are quite distinct. Grasshoppers are often described as “chirping.” They do this by rubbing their hind legs against their wings.
Male katydids produce a strange, harsh, shrill sound at night throughout the summer and autumn. They got their name because they make a noise that people felt sounded like “Katy-did, Katy-didn’t” being repeated on a loop. For its “song,” the katydid uses its wings to vibrate rapidly against one another, unlike grasshoppers, who utilize their legs.
Wrapping Up Katydid vs Grasshopper
You can clearly observe how diverse katydid and grasshopper species are, despite their shared ancestry. For feeding, they emerge at various times of the day and night, each with a distinct look. Also, they sing in distinct tones and feed in different ways. It’s fascinating to observe how quickly two nearly identical insects can be separated.
Bonus: Predatory Katydids Are Carnivores
The average katydid eats tiny insects to supplement its diet while relying on plants for nourishment. Predatory katydids of the species Saginae hunt and eat other insects – including other katydids. Along with the praying mantis – Saginae are fierce hunters of insects that they catch with their powerful, spiny legs. These giant insects also sport a spiny thorax to aid in holding and disemboweling their prey.
There are 45 subspecies of Saginae – with the largest being the Middle Eastern Saga ephippigera and the black-winged clonia taking second place. The black-winged clonia grows up to 9 inches (22 cm) and is one of the largest insects in southern Africa. It is also one of the loudest – a single male can be heard from about a mile away.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/nrpphoto
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