Coneheads

Easily recognized by their slanted faces and pointed or rounded cones that extend from their foreheads, the conehead katydids look like insect battering-rams, ready to poke holes in whatever gets in their way. (Actually, scientists do not know the adaptive significance of the cones.) Coneheads have long and slender wings, and most are strong fliers. While some species are only an inch long, others grow to nearly 3 inches in length, ranking them among the longest of our native katydids. Nearly all species occur in two color phases, green and brown, with proportions of the two color phases varying widely between species. This variation in color has not been carefully studied, but it is thought to be adaptive, perhaps making it more difficult for predators, such as birds, to develop a stable search image of their prey. There are even rare yellow forms that can occasionally be found. These are thought to be similar to albinism, a recessive genetic trait that is expressed in these few individuals.

Rare yellow-form of Robust Conehead.

There are twenty-two species of coneheads in North America, represented by four genera. While most are eastern in distribution, a number are confined to the South-east, and some are found only in southern Florida. In this guide, we feature six species of the genus Neoconocephalus, all of which are fairly common and widespread. Inhabiting tall grass, weedy fields, and shrubby edges, male coneheads sing mostly at night and have loud raspy or buzzy songs. They are easy to find and catch but do not make good pets, because their songs are too loud and penetrating to be tolerated in a household. The best way to identify a conehead is to look closely at the shape of its cone and note the pattern of dark coloration when it occurs. This diagram shows the undersides of the cones of the species included in this guide.

 

* Drawing made from artwork provided by Thomas J. Walker.

 

Our Insect Musicians:

Introduction
Biology of Insect Song
Human Hearing & Insect Song
Beginner’s Guide to Song IDs
Advanced Guide to Song IDs
How to Find and Watch
Singing Insects as Pets
Relaxing Insect MP3s

Master List of Species
(with sounds)

Navigate to Species Pages:

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FAMILY DESCRIPTION

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Meadow Katydids (Tettigoniidae):
FAMILY DESCRIPTION
Saltmarsh Meadow Katydid
Short-winged Meadow Katydid
Slender Meadow Katydid
Woodland Meadow Katydid
Straight-lanced Meadow Katydid
Agile Meadow Katydid
Black-legged Meadow Katydid
Common Meadow Katydid
Gladiator Meadow Katydid
Handsome Meadow Katydid
Lesser Pine Meadow Katydid
Long-spurred Meadow Katydid
Red-headed Meadow Katydid
Coneheads (Copiphorinae):
FAMILY DESCRIPTION
Round-tipped Conehead
Nebraska Conehead
Robust Conehead
Slightly Musical Conehead
Sword-bearing Conehead
False Robust Conehead
True Katydids (Pseudophyllinae):
FAMILY DESCRIPTION
Common True Katydid
False Katydids (Phaneropterinae):
FAMILY DESCRIPTION
Clicker Round-winged Katydid
Common Virtuoso Katydid
Rattler Round-winged Katydid
Oblong-winged Katydid
Great Angle-wing
Lesser Angle-wing
Broad-winged Bush Katydid
Curved-tailed Bush Katydid
Fork-tailed Bush Katydid
Northern Bush Katydid
Texas Bush Katydid
Treetop Bush Katydid
Shield-backed Katydids (Tettigoniinae):
FAMILY DESCRIPTION
American Shieldback
Least Shieldback
Protean Shieldback
Robust Shieldback
Roesel’s Katydid

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