Photo By Houston Museum of Natural Science / CC BY 2.5

A Bug With Very Long Legs

Commonly referred to as the Giant Long-Legged Katydid, the Tettigoniidae are a bug that goes back all the way to the times of the dinoaurs! These bugs aren't some tiny bug either. They are known to grow to be up to 4.5 inches! Now that's one big bug. Just like bush crickets we have here in Tennessee, Tettigoniidae live in trees and are most active at night. Besides the massive size of the Tettigoniidae, they are almost an exact copy of just a regular grasshopper. The only other difference between the two species is that the Giant Long-Legged Katydid also has an extremely long antennae. Their antennae can be almost twice as long as their own body!

The Giant Long-Legged Katydid lives for about one year, give or take a month. During the final part of their lives, the last three months or so, they finally become adults. That sounds kind of nice! Living 3/4 of your life as a child! Anyways, once these bugs become completely mature they begin to of course try to reproduce. This is perhaps the most odd part about these bugs. After they reproduce the female tries to eat off the reproductive organ of the male! Now, of course this is not something the male wants, but he also wants to reproduce so he has quite the conundrum. He can either reproduce, and never reproduce again, or wait and just never reproduce in the first place. Well, these male bugs have figured out a way around this odd behavior exhibited in the females! Instead of reproducing and allowing the female to eat it's reproductive organ off, the males give what is called a nuptial gift to the females. This distracts the females for enough time that the male can reproduce with her, without getting himself hurt! This way the male can reproduce with another female, and another, and continue his bloodline. Because of the fact that these bugs, once they reach adulthood, are constantly looking for another mate, it causes a lot of infighting between the males over who is going to get the female. Once these bugs have reproduced the female begins to lay the eggs a few weeks later. She usually lays them under ground, although she may lay them near the base of a flower as well. The eggs are oval shaped and she will lay them in a line. In the case of the Giant Long-Legged Katydid, the nymphs usually look like small flower petals! Camouflage is this bugs best defense mechanism both as a nymph, and as an adult.

As we stated earlier, these bugs are most active at night, so they rest during the day. While they are resting during the day they literally become a statue. They pick one spot and one position and stay in that position and sleep all day. Because of the way they look, and their outstanding camouflage, they resemble a leaf almost perfectly. Unfortunately though, this bug does not have any other method of defense against a predator besides its camouflage. So, if it happens to move or give up it's camouflage, it is almost certainly going to be eaten.