Black-Legged Meadow Katydid

Black-legged meadow katydid female
Scientific Name
Orchelimum nigripes
Tettigoniidae (katydids) in the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, katydids, crickets)

The black-legged meadow katydid is one of our most beautiful native katydids. A medium-sized grasshopper-like insect, it has a blue-green body, red eyes, and long black hind legs. The call begins with two or three "tics" followed by a gradually widening buzz: tic-tic buzzzzzzzzz, tic-tic-tic buzzzzzzzzz.

Learn more about this and other katydids on their group page.


Length: 1–1½ inches.

Where To Find
image of Black-Legged Meadow Katydid Distribution Map


Walking in tall grasses, you catch a glimpse of movement. Closer inspection reveals a gorgeous, strikingly marked katydid hiding among the foliage. These secretive katydids are quick to hop away or move to the other side of a plant stem.

Usually found in prairies, meadows, grassy and weedy areas, backyard gardens, and wetlands. They seem to prefer moist, grassy, marshy areas.

This species feeds on various types of grasses. Occasionally it may become a pest of gardens.

Life Cycle

As with most members of the katydid family, males sing to attract females. Each species has a distinct song, which makes it possible to identify them by song alone (just as birders can identify unseen birds by their calls). Females lay their eggs within plant tissue or sometimes in the soil.

Some large species of katydids, including the various meadow katydids, have strong jaws for cracking open seeds and can give you a hearty dip. Handle with care.

The songs of these and other insects add to nature's symphony. This species also provides a fun game for observers, who play "ring-around-the-rosy" with the katydid as it circles around the opposite side of a plant, hiding from view.

Although they can become an occasional pest in gardens, where they can feed on a wide variety of plants, they are not known to cause significant damage.

Media Gallery
Similar Species
About Land Invertebrates in Missouri
Invertebrates are animals without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, and arthropods. Arthropods—invertebrates with “jointed legs” — are a group of invertebrates that includes crayfish, shrimp, millipedes, centipedes, mites, spiders, and insects. There may be as many as 10 million species of insects alive on earth today, and they probably constitute more than 90 percent all animal species.
Reviewed On