Sword-bearing Conehead (Neoconocephalus ensiger)

Song of a Sword-bearing Conehead (scroll down for explanation and additional recordings!).

insect_musicians_neoci-ensig_WH_DIGI-EditImpressive in appearance, the Sword-bearing Conehead is named for the extremely long ovipositor of the female, which can be nearly as long as her abdomen. The cone is black on the bottom, with a light stripe wrapping around the tip. Look for these coneheads in weedy fields and tall grass along roadsides, particularly where there is some water nearby. When plentiful, green and brown forms can be found in nearly equal numbers. Brown individuals are peppered with dark spots on their wings — a very attractive effect.

Range Map for Sword-bearing Conehead

Sword-bearing Conehead

Sword-bearing Conehead cone from below.

Cone from below.

Song: A rapid train of brief raspy notes at about 12 kHz, given at a rate of approximately 5–10 notes per second, depending on the temperature: tst-tst-tst-tst-tst-tst . . . Song is very loud and easily heard as one drives along country roads in late summer or early autumn. Starts singing at dusk and continues throughout the night unless temperatures drop too low. Males often sing in unison on cooler nights. When disturbed, Sword-bearing Coneheads can react in a variety of ways. They may just sit still, or else move to the opposite side of the stem. Or they may suddenly fall head-first into the vegetation and remain motionless and well hidden. In open areas, they often escape by flying.
Sonogram of a Sword-bearing Conehead. © Wil Hershberger.



Sword-bearing Conehead

• click to enlarge •

• click to enlarge •

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