At least the males do - the females don't sing. They've got more important tasks. The beautiful little cricket above is a handsome trig, Phyllopalpus pulchellus, and it's total insect art. Burnt red and deep ebony, it looks as if the cricket was waxed and then shellacked. They're common, too, singing right now in a bush near you. But note the posterior end of this particular animal. It looks like someone mounted a sword to it.
Photo: John Pogacnik
This is an amazing photo, and the sole reason I slapped this post together. John Pogacnik sent this image along today, of a female common true katydid that he caught in the act of ovipositing. John and his son were strolling around his Lake County yard, seeking creatures of the night, when they noticed the katydid high up on a tree trunk.
Common true katydids are also armed with large bayonetlike ovipositors, like the other Orthopterans in this post. Thanks to John's photo, we can see why these unnaturally large structures come in handy. The katydid is working her ovipositor deep into the bark of this tree, and once she has drilled to an adequate depth, she'll inject her eggs. Sort of like insect fracking, but the results are good.
Ensconced deep within the plant tissue, the katydid eggs will be insulated from the ravages of winter. Come spring and warmer weather, they'll hatch and young katydid nymphs will make their way into the world and commence growing, molting, and growing ever larger. By this time next year, the fruits of this hardworking female katydid's labors will have come to fruition, and her offspring will contribute their tones to the great singing insect wall of sound.