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Rearing katydids from eggs

Can anyone tell me when katydid eggs typically hatch? They are from captive specimens of two different species.

I have Greater Anglewing eggs from two different females, which were laid two months apart. The second female just laid hers yesterday (Nov. 21).

I also have Black-legged Meadow Katydid eggs laid by two different females, about a month apart. I was able to film both the Black-legged Meadow Katydids females laying their eggs. Unfortunately, I missed the greater anglewing yesterday by just minutes. She was cleaning off her ovipositor when I found her, and the eggs weren't there when I left the house a few hours before.

I need some idea of what month to expect them to hatch next year so that I can collect appropriate food in advance. Suggestions as to what is "appropriate" food would also be welcomed. I will release most of the babies, but want to rear a few of each species and document their growth.

Can anyone provide any help?

I live in northern Illinois if that makes a difference as to when they will hatch. For now, the eggs are on branches in very tall ventilated jars on my screened porch so that they will go through a normal winter. But I have no idea, not even a vague one, as to what month katydids are typically born. I never find them until they are adults or just prior to their last molt.

I'm actually surprised that my Greater Anglewing female and Prairie Meadow Katydid male are still hanging on in late November. I've never had any katydid species live into late November before. There's no natural food to bring inside for them now. The anglewing is living on a sedum plant that I potted for her, but it is almost gone. She's also got romaine lettuce and gel cricket food. The prairie meadow katydid has only romaine lettuce and gel cricket food. Both seem to be doing okay so far. Any suggestions as to what else to feed them? I want them to have as long and healthy life as possible, although I realize both are at the end of their lives.

I've raised a lot of tree crickets
...and along with host plant leaves, I also provide Commercial Cricket Food Powder for protein.


katydid rearing
For me in ME and NY, I find young anglewings and meadow katydids outdoors in late May to early June. I'd imagine that in Illinois it might be a bit earlier, but probably not before the beginning of May.

In regards to food, I find that meadow katydids do just fine on carrot slices, lettuce/spinach, and a bit of fish flakes. I have reared many successfully with these foods. Keep in mind they need sticks to hang off of to molt, and a humid environment to avoid mismolts. And if you use fish flakes, remove any uneaten ones after a day or so because they get moldy rather fast. For the anglewings, I usually feed them leaves of various tree and vine species. They especially seem to enjoy wild grape if you have it.

I find that almost all crickets and katydids are generalist feeders and pretty much every one I have found has accepted carrots (even anglewings, although they don't last too long on solely carrots). Grasshoppers are a bit more difficult and often require more specific foodplants and a daily schedule of sunlight. Haven't had as much success rearing them.

And yes, crickets and katydids that usually die off in the fall will often last quite a long time indoors if kept well. I have kept Greater anglewings into January, and black-legged meadow katydids into March! I currently have 2 male black-legged meadow katydids from PA, and they are singing away here as I type.

Katydid rearing
Thanks. That was exactly what I needed to know. I provide sticks for molting, although my mantises and katydids seemed to prefer the wire screen mesh at the top of the terrarium, which makes for more successful molts than when they hang in net cages.

My anglewings really loved wild grape leaves while they were available! Thankfully those can be found in my backyard. I didn't tried carrots or fish flakes with any of the meadow katydids. I will keep that in mind come spring.

All my critters have UVA/UVB lights on timers in their terrariums along with a thermometer and hygrometer to monitor humidity to ensure the best chance at molts and a healthy environment. I mist to control humidity. I have all that equipment for my reptiles and amphibians, and just do the same for my insects.

Raising katydids is new. I've had adults in the fall along with rearing countless mantises. But I never tried to raise katydids from eggs. I really enjoyed filming the female Black-legged Meadow Katydids ovipositing. I learned so much about them by watching the process. Plus the IL DNR is interested in purchasing the video and stills because the shots were staged to look as if they were in the wild, even though the DNR knows the katydids were in captivity at the time. I pointed that out repeatedly so that they didn't think I was misrepresenting my photos. I might even get my photos displayed at the IL state fair next year. I filmed the Short-winged Meadow Katydids and other meadow katydid males singing, but missed both my anglewings when they laid their eggs. They must have laid at night. I was surprised that my second anglewing female didn't lay hers until just recently (well into November). Do they lay eggs even if they are not fertilized by a male? I don't know if they can mate as nymphs. One of my anglewings was a nymph just prior to its final molt; the other was an adult when I got it.

Can I ask, how did you get katydids from PA when you are so far north? I grew up in Pittsburgh. I have yet to find anyone who will ship me anything except mantises. I almost bought a huge Florida katydid at a Chicago reptile show in September, but I had no idea how long-lived the species is or how old the one was that he was selling. Florida species are frequently born much earlier in the year than species up north. So it could have been really old. (Seasonal dragonflies, not the year-round species, start hatching in late February in FL, while they don't start here until late April or much later.) I didn't want to shell out big bucks for a katydid that might die in a week. It was too late to do any research when I was already at the show. I didn't expect insects at a reptile show. But it was tempting to buy the katydid. It was enormous! I can never bring back insects from out-of-state trips to FL, TX, or out west because I always have a 2-day or 3-day drive back home, either in very cold or very hot weather, depending on the time of year. Plus motels aren't thrilled to find an insect in a motel room, even when in a cage. They want to charge a pet fee or throw me out entirely if I leave anything in the room where they see it. They are extremely unhappy to find refrigerated specimens among my food in their fridge. I can't leave any animals in the car because it gets too hot or cold. The motels don't know that a caged insect can't pee on their carpet or infest their rooms with bedbugs.

Thanks again so much! You are a gem.

Glad I could help, and good l
Glad I could help, and good luck with your rearing!

Anglewings will lay eggs regardless of whether or not they have been fertilized. They can only mate as adults.

I acquired my PA katydids when a few friends and I drove down to the Harrisburg area to collect in September. I just put the "do not disturb' sign on my door at hotels, bring the bugs inside in a backpack or something, and I've never had problems. Definitely don't leave them in the car, I've made that mistake before :o

I usually just bring back dead specimens, but sometimes I can't resist bringing one or two live katydids or hoppers back. I just bring back males so I don't have to worry about introducing a new invasive or anything. I like to hear them sing too!

The big FL species is probably Stilpnochlora couloniana, they are huge indeed! Here is a care sheet for the species. In Europe they are apparently found in the pet trade. Jealous! Somebody needs to get them in culture here in the US.

Oh no, that means my first an
Oh no, that means my first anglewing's eggs cannot be fertile because she came to me before her final molt. She was with a male, but the male didn't survive his last molt. They were the same size and on the same hibiscus plant. So her eggs cannot be fertile. Maybe I'll get lucky and the second anglewing's eggs will be fertile. I was looking forward to babies, but now I know the first one's eggs are duds.

When I do collect a few katydids from places other than my own backyard or a neighbor's yard, I put the specimens in a cooler for the day until I get home. We come prepared with a large cooler with ice packs that are separated from the insect containers so that they don't come in direct contact. It keeps the specimens cool enough to be safe until we get home at night. Farmers and people out in the country seem to be more than happy to rid themselves of what they call "grasshoppers," but are really katydids.

I can sneak a few specimens into the motel room, but somebody always comes into the room on any long-term stay (more than three days) to empty garbage and check the towels even if I put up a do not disturb sign and specifically ask the front desk that my room not be cleaned until I leave. Only little private motels respect my privacy, and those are risky bets because they never change the locks even after decades. Old fashioned keys! Watch chain motels. I had one give me the owner's pass key that opened all the rooms in the motel just because he didn't want to have someone come fix the lock on the door to my room. So I could have entered anyone's room during our week's stay. Sometimes maids come into rooms looking for electronics/camera gear to steal since I travel with at least $50,000 worth of camera and computer equipment. The nicer the motel, the more theft there is. We couldn't find any place near Bosque Del Apache NWR in New Mexico that didn't have complaints of theft, including the most expensive place in town. We found bathroom windows apparently closed, but really unlocked. Our room was entered no matter what we did with do not disturb signs. Thankfully those thieves weren't checking for insects. In fact, the rooms already came with their very own supply of insects, just not any insects I wanted to take home!

Thanks for the info on the Florida katydid. Next time I go to the reptile show, I'll be ready to snatch up any good insects they have. I just didn't expect mantises or katydids at a reptile show. I just went to look for a new Bearded Dragon. I'm more comfortable buying insects in March than in September because insects aren't as likely to be very old in March. I appreciate the care sheet. If the same dealer is there in March, I would gladly buy a katydid from him.

Lots of our native North American species are popular as pets in Europe, but not so here. Our most overlooked herp pet here is the Gray Treefrog. Europeans love them. They make great pets. Love to be hand fed. Recognize their owners. But nobody here breeds them because they aren't exotic and colorful and aren't legal in many states. But they are easy keepers for beginners, much better than the green treefrogs or green anoles sold in pet stores. A few unscrupulous people take gray treefrogs from the wild to sell. It's a quick buck. Thankfully the species is plentiful and not endangered. The frogs have little fear of people. Mine live on barred crickets and blue bottle flies, both of which are very expensive to have shipped in during the winter. I wish I knew an easy way to raise blue bottle flies. But everyone I talked to said it involves manure, which I cannot keep in my house. My husband is tolerant of a dozen terrariums with 40 herps and a dozen or more insects, mostly non-native mantises, but in some years hundreds of Chinese mantises. I don't want to push my luck. I have a wonderful husband who is learning to love herps and insects.

A bunch of replies
Flies and manure: Musca domestica (common housefly) is not a bluebottle, but it has been reared on fermented wheat bran, which is apparently quite clean.

Insect fertility: Insects normally cannot mate or reproduce unless adult. This is one of the entomological rules with few exceptions.

Motels: Why not just dunk your insects into a backpack or someplace else they are not allowed to check?

Gray treefrog: The situation is quite similar with insects, but much more dramatic. Carabid and tenebrionid beetles (even many of the smaller "sidewalk" species) make fascinating captives, but most insect-keepers ignore them. The adults of both are typically quite low-maintenance and long-lived, too.

My mantises had trouble catch
My mantises had trouble catching house flies. They are faster and more agile than blue bottle flies. Blue bottle flies are really easy for them to catch. The same goes for the frogs. Even the very tiny baby gray treefrogs can snag a blue bottle fly. Bottle flies seem kind of dumb in comparison to house flies. They will sit and buzz at the bottom of the window sill or the blinds when they escape, making it easy for me to recapture them with a vacuum cleaner and a special attachment I made to suck the flies up into a net pouch where they remain unharmed. I finally learned that was the easiest way to transfer flies from net cages where they hatch to the mantis, frog, and anole cages without having hundreds of loose flies in my house. I'm very tolerant of loose flightless fruit flies (providing they don't manage to breed with the flying variety), but my husband hits the roof when there are more than a handful of loose bottle flies or house flies in the house. I don't blame him. I do have a limit when it comes to some bugs in my house. Pets insects are different. A loose katydid or mantis isn't the end of the world.

I forgot to add
Mantids will eat non-living prey and fruit if you hand-feed them. This is based on personal experience and reports from expert insect keepers.

Apparently, there are also vibrating food dishes which trick reptiles into eating dead bugs, but I've never kept reptiles or amphibians.

House flies will not cause trouble once dead :)

I always fed my pet Chinese m
I always fed my pet Chinese mantids dead flies and other dead insects using forceps. However, I haven't had any luck with my Ghost Mantises or my Giant Asian Mantis taking any food from forceps. They still recoil in fear when they are offered something by hand, probably because I don't spend as much time with them as I did with the Chinese mantises last winter.

I trick mantises in the wild into taking dead prey in front of my camera by putting the prey on a long piece of spider web and jiggling the web in front of the mantis. That way my hand isn't present to scare the wild mantis. That works without fail. But feeding from forceps has its drawbacks. My mantises would grab the forceps instead of the prey, which forced me to hang onto the forceps until they finished eating their meal. The forceps were far too heavy for the mantis to hold on its own.

Even my treefrogs will take flies, larvae, and worms from forceps with ZERO regard as to what I am offering them. In their minds, ANYTHING on the end of forceps must be edible! The treefrogs lunge at the forceps and try to force everything into their mouths, forceps and all. Sometimes when I try to pull the forceps away, I end up dragging the little treefrog or mantis off its perch because they won't release their grip on the forceps. I'd love to offer Dubia roaches to my pets, but I definitely don't want live roaches getting loose in my house.

I wish I could figure out how to hand feed my Ghost Mantises and Giant Asian Mantis. The G. Asian mantis is positively frightened by the presence of a human. It runs around frantically. It still hasn't learned that "scary human" equals "good food." The treefrogs were much easier to acclimate to hand feeding. In just a matter of days they learned to associate anything on the end of forceps with good food.

However, I'm just having no luck with this year's three mantis species. I have one unidentified rhom sp. (probably Rhombodera extensicollis), several ghost mantises, and one giant Asian mantis. The rhombodera is still too small to offer food by hand. It is still eating D. melanogaster. But I was hoping by now that the giant Asian and larger ghost mantises would take food from forceps. Some of the Ghost mantises have figured out that if they perch over the cubes of gel cricket food that I put in their cages for the bottle flies to eat that all the flies will come within reach sooner, rather than later.

One female ghost mantis doesn't even bother to hang upside down in an attempt to look like a dead leaf. She just perches upright on the rim of the bowl with the gel cricket food. She snags the flies whenever they come to feed. Her intelligence has really paid off. She understands the relationship between those little orange cubes and the flies she wants to eat. So she's much larger than the other ghost mantises from her brood. She made that connection very quickly. Only one other female has made the connection between the gel cricket food and where she should perch when hunting. However, she still wants to hang upside down over the gel cubes. So she isn't growing quite as fast as her sibling. I'm surprised that the other ghost mantises haven't figured out that the flies are always on or near the gel cricket food.

It is not uncommon for captive insects to have greatly extended lives, since they are protected from various dangers. My Cotinis mutabilis scarab is still alive despite its wild friends disappearing by the end of September.

I’m sure that a variety of supermarket leafy vegetables will suffice for feeding them and their young. Fruit, starchy/fleshy vegetables, and dog/fish/cat/cricket food will probably be accepted, but I would use them only as occasional treats or emergency food because such foods may be too rich for use as staple foods. Similar diets have been successfully used to feed lubber grasshoppers and tenebrionid beetles, which probably have similar nutritional needs. Beware of pesticides, though. Houseplants might be dangerous in this regard.

I have very little experience with katydids, but bugguide has info on the blackleg hatching time (on its species page). However, many annual insects hatch in the spring.

Winsconsin Oecanthinancy might be able to give more info for you, as she has dealt with katydid captives before.

Thanks. I know not to buy hou
Thanks. I know not to buy house plants for the katydids to eat because I also keep treefrogs and have to ensure there are no chemicals of any kind on plants in their terrarium, in the soil in which the plants are potted, and that insects the frogs eat haven't fed on any plants with chemicals. My herp vet gave me that lecture at the start. The sedum I was using for the anglewing is from my own garden, where no chemicals of any kind were ever used. Our yard is planted specifically to attract all wildlife, especially insects. I didn't know exactly what store-bought greens the two species would eat since each species has different food preferences. I know from previous years that Greater Meadow Katydids will also eat smaller insects, including crickets and other katydids. But these were my first Anglewings and Lesser Meadow Katydids. I see on the species pages that my anglewing can live until mid-November. I was hoping to narrow down "late spring" hatching time to a particular month. Everyone's idea of spring seems to be different (calendar vs. meteorological) For now, I will assume late spring means May in Northern Illinois. Thanks for the quick response.

More info
Bugguide page for Conocephalus and Orchelimum: Various seeds, pollen, fruits, leaves of forbs and grasses. Suggests they are generalist herbivores which will eat anything

Ah. Thanks. Got it.
Ah. Thanks. Got it.

One other thing
I’m pretty sure most orthopteran insects are generalist feeders to some degree. Bugguide editor Eric Eaton has informed me that nearly all orthops will take animal protein. This does not always mean a herbivorous species is capable of snagging hapless beetles off leaves and killing them; peaceful species not adapted to predatory behavior will scavenge dead insects, though a few katydids are mostly carnivores that hunt prey.

Also, the lifespan included on bugguide is probably wild lifespan, not maximum possible lifespan. My Cotinis scarab was wild caught, but it’s nearly December and bugguide says the season is mostly July to Oct. There are no freezing winds and veggie shortages indoors, so your angle wing will probably continue living for quite a while.

I forgot to mention Microcentrum’s diet, but I am willing to bet it will adapt well to eating lettuce and greens for the above reasons. A long while ago, I found what looked like a Microcentrum nymph near oak trees, and it ate hibiscus at home. You can probably just visit the supermarket for some vegetables if the eggs of any of your species hatches prematurely.

My first two anglewings were
My first two anglewings were found on hibiscus plants in my neighbor's garden as nymphs just prior to their final molt. So clearly they like hibiscus. We fed them wild grapevine leaves and maple leaves. Only one is still hanging on. The other died a month ago. I will definitely hit the grocery store if the eggs hatch sooner than our local plants are ready. Thanks.

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