Orthoptera of North Carolina
Scientific Name: Common Name:
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View Tettigoniidae Members: NC Records

Conocephalus saltans (Scudder, 1872) - Prairie Meadow Katydid

Family: Tettigoniidae Subfamily: Conocephalinae Tribe: Conocephalini
Comments: One of nineteen species in this large worldwide genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (SINA, 2018; Cigliano et al., 2018); ten have been recorded in North Carolina
Species Status: Includes C. viridifrons as a synonym (Cigliano et al., 2018)
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: SINA, BugGuide, Google Images, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Rehn and Hebard (1915); Blatchley (1920)SINA 225a.htm                                                                                  
Comments: A small, reddish-brown to bluish-green, short-winged Lesser Meadow Katydid. The typical form is dull reddish-brown. The face is marked with a dark stripe or blotch and a wide stripe of brown runs from the vertex of the head, across the pronotum, and down the center of the abdomen. Pale stripes border this band on the sides, including on the abdomen, where a dark stripe may also border them below. In form viridifrons, the face is immaculate green, the body is bluish green, the dark stripes paler and the yellow stripes more obscure (Blatchley, 1920). Conocephalus brevipennis is similar in size but lacks the prominent pale stripes on the sides and the dark line or blotch on the face.
Total Length [body plus wings; excludes ovipositor]: 11-14 mm, males; 12.8-15.5 mm, females (Blatchley, 1920)Forewing Length: 3-3.5 mm, males; 2.5-2.7 mm, females (Blatchely, 1920)
Structural Features: The apical portion of the male cerci are longer than the basal portion and are incurved or flattened (Blatchley, 1920). The medial tooth is long and bent inward and downward. The ovipositor is as long as the body or longer and is slightly curved. The tegmina are usually very short, reaching only about a quarter of the way along the abdomen. Long-winged forms have been observed but are rare.
Singing Behavior: Despite the very short wings of this species, the males stridulate, producing a series of clicks and longer buzzes similar to those of other meadow katydids. The frequency range extends from 3kHz to above 20 kHz (based on a recording from SINA (accessed 2021-10-06). A series of stuttering clicks is followed by bands of buzzing, increasing in length and then returning to the individual clicks.
Distribution in North Carolina
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Adult Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Blatchley (1920) described this species as xerophilous, associated with dry upland prairies and sandy barrens. Populations have been found in association with Andropogon and other dry bunch-grasses, New Jersey Tea, Sweetfern, Lupine, Wild Indigo, and Huckleberries. In North Carolina, it has been found in at the edge of a wildlife food plot in an area otherwise supporting a xeric barrens dominated by Bluejack and Sand Post Oaks. Saltans has also been recently found in a large area of weedy Sandhills forbs in an area maintained as a paratrooper drop zone. Both of these areas appear to have substantial amounts of clay in soils.
Observation Methods: Best found by flushing individuals by walking through their habitat
Adult Phenology:
See also Habitat Account for General Dry-Xeric Glades and Barrens
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: [W3]
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 S2S3
State Protection:
Comments: More surveys are needed to document the conservation status of this species in North Carolina. However, apart from a single recent record, this species has not been collected in the state since the 1950s and appears to be at least very uncommon and strongly restricted to xeric barrens and dry meadows.

Image Gallery for Conocephalus saltans - Prairie Meadow Katydid

Recorded by: Ed Corey
Scotland Co.
Recorded by: Ed Corey
Scotland Co.
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan
Moore Co.
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan
Moore Co.
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan
Moore Co.