Katydids and Crickets – Discovery

Katydids and Crickets – DiscoveryMusic; Ambience: Night time Insect Chorus The nighttime chirps of crickets and katydids are a familiar sound of late summer and early fall. But with hundreds of species of these insects, what’s the easiest way to tell them apart? Quite often, it’s not by the way they look! I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Tom Walker is an entomologist at the University of Florida.Walker: “Crickets and katydids are alike in lots of ways. They both have jumping hind legs, they both have long antennae, they each have ears on the front legs, their hind wings are folded like a fan. Well, it’s been about two hundred and fifty million years since they had a common ancestor. And during two hundred and fifty million years each of them did a lot of changing. To a taxonomist probably the key difference is that the crickets for their last part of their leg, their foot, have three segmented feet and katydids have four segmented feet. Presently, there are about two hundred and fifty-eight katydids and about a hundred and twenty-seven species of crickets, but we have been finding new ones at a pretty good clip. And so I’m sure that there’s at least thirty or forty additional species, perhaps more.”JM: These new species weren’t discovered by looking at them. TW: “The main reason that we’re discovering them is because we’ve been listening to their songs, which is how they tell one another apart and it turns out that we’ve put dead specimens in trays that are strange bedfellows. They aren’t the same species at all, we just thought they were because they looked pretty much alike. When we know that all the specimens in this box sang one way and the specimens in this box sang another, it turns out there’s in almost every case some fairly simple way to tell them apart.”JM: We’ll hear more about the music of katydids and crickets in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Katydids and Crickets - Discovery

Scientists learn something new about crickets and katydids by listening.
Air Date:09/24/2020
Scientist:
Transcript:

Katydids and Crickets - DiscoveryMusic; Ambience: Night time Insect Chorus The nighttime chirps of crickets and katydids are a familiar sound of late summer and early fall. But with hundreds of species of these insects, what's the easiest way to tell them apart? Quite often, it's not by the way they look! I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Tom Walker is an entomologist at the University of Florida.Walker: "Crickets and katydids are alike in lots of ways. They both have jumping hind legs, they both have long antennae, they each have ears on the front legs, their hind wings are folded like a fan. Well, it's been about two hundred and fifty million years since they had a common ancestor. And during two hundred and fifty million years each of them did a lot of changing. To a taxonomist probably the key difference is that the crickets for their last part of their leg, their foot, have three segmented feet and katydids have four segmented feet. Presently, there are about two hundred and fifty-eight katydids and about a hundred and twenty-seven species of crickets, but we have been finding new ones at a pretty good clip. And so I'm sure that there's at least thirty or forty additional species, perhaps more."JM: These new species weren't discovered by looking at them. TW: "The main reason that we're discovering them is because we've been listening to their songs, which is how they tell one another apart and it turns out that we've put dead specimens in trays that are strange bedfellows. They aren't the same species at all, we just thought they were because they looked pretty much alike. When we know that all the specimens in this box sang one way and the specimens in this box sang another, it turns out there's in almost every case some fairly simple way to tell them apart."JM: We'll hear more about the music of katydids and crickets in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.