I really miss the song of autumn about now. This afternoon, I took a brief wander through the local patch, and heard only the feeble swan songs of Carolina and Allard's ground crickets. These little black crickets are the toughest of our Orthopterans, or singing insects, and we'll hear the odd individual fiddling its wings into early December, if the sun shines brightly enough.
But for the most part, the entomological symphony, that grand wall of sound created by legions of katydids, coneheads, trigs, and crickets is gone. The singers have perished, leaving only their eggs to ride out the winter, and it'll be next summer before their life cycle comes once again to the point of music.
Just two weeks ago, I found myself in some marshy ground on an unseasonably warm day, and the singing insects were going whole hog, every bit as active as a bunch of drunks in a Karaoke bar. This black-legged meadow katydid, Orchelimum nigripes, was especially extroverted so I paused to pay him some mind.
This black-legged meadow katydid was really going at it, and was not much bothered by your narrator sticking a brightly flashing Nikon in its grill. The paler brown region on the katydid's back is its stridulatory region of the wings, and he was rapidly rubbing them as I took the photo. As were scores of others. That day, October 30, was the last day that I heard a full-bore salvo of insect song.
Click the short video above, and you can hear the meadow katydid for yourself. We'll have to make due with such digital fare for some time, I'm afraid, if its katydids we wish to hear. July is a long ways off.