Orthoptera of North Carolina
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View Tettigoniidae Members: NC Records

Montezumina modesta (Brunner von Wattenwyl, 1878) - Modest Katydid


Taxonomy
Family: Tettigoniidae Subfamily: Phaneropterinae Tribe: PycnopalpiniSynonym: Symmatopleura modesta
Comments: A primarily Neotropical genus of 25 species, of which only modesta occurs in North America north of Mexico (Nickle, 1984)
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Capineira et al. (2004)Online Photographs: BugGuide, Google ImagesTechnical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Blatchley (1920)SINA 041a.htm                                                                                  
Comments: Leaf green with a narrow yellow stripe along the lateral margin of the pronotum and dorsal field of the tegmina. Similar in color, pattern, and narrow wing shape to Scudderia species but is noticeably smaller and has narrow, eliptical eyes rather than the round eyes characteristic of Scudderia. Differs from Amblycorypha in having narrower wings and in other structural features described below.
Structural Features: Males lack the modified supra-anal and subgenital processes found in Scudderia species; the cerci are strongly inwardly curved at the apex and the subgenital plate is relatively short and notched at the apex. Males of Amblycorpypha have similar external reproductive structures and have somewhat oval eyes, but differ in having a broad and rounded fastigium (area between the antennae), whereas Montezumina have a narrower fastigium that possesses a short, beak-like process. The ovipositor of the females are short but very broad compared to other species of bush katydids and have a large basal lobe.
Structural photos
Singing Behavior: Fulton (1932) described the song of a captive Montezumina (=Symmetropleura) as consisting of series of short, weak notes with an abrupt termination, sounding like "thk-thk". The pulse rate is about 1 per sec at 85 F; sometimes a many as 50 notes are given in a series. SINA (2019) shows single or double notes given at a rate of 1 or more per second; the dominant pitch is around 14-16 kHz.
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: Poorly known. Rehn and Hebard collected on on Water Hyacinth in Florida (cited by Blatchley, 1920)and Nickle (1984) mentioned records from both wet cypress stands and xeric sandhills. Capieira et al. (2004) note additionally that many northern records come from bottomlands. Our records from the Piedmont, however, come from upland sites, mainly from stands of hardwoods and pines but also from residential areas.
Diet:
Observation Methods: This species has long been considered hard to observe and we suspect that this species usually stays well up in the canopy. Sherman and Brimley (1911, cited by Blatchley, 1920), found them using lights or bait, and we have observed several individuals by using these methods. The song is difficult for some people to hear, especially when given at the same time as choruses of True Katydids, Tree Crickets, and Columbian Trigs are singing.
Abundance/Frequency:
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Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: W3
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GU S3S4
State Protection:
Comments: This species is currently too poorly known to make an accurate assessment of its conservation status. It does not appear to be highly specialized in terms of habitat, however, and may turn out to be both widespread and relatively frequent in its occurrence.

Image Gallery for Montezumina modesta - Modest Katydid

Recorded by: R. Newman
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall
Orange Co.
Comment: Male
Recorded by: Steve Hall
Orange Co.
Comment: Male seen at moth sheet
Recorded by: Steve Hall
Orange Co.
Comment: Male seen at moth sheet
Recorded by: Simpson Eason
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
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