Least Shieldback (Atlanticus monticola)

Song of a Least Shieldback (scroll down for explanation and additional recordings!).

insect_musicians_atlan-mont_LE_SLIDE_abThe Least Shieldback is a striking and robust katydid of weedy fields and brushy forest understory. Its pinkish brown coloration makes it one of the most attractive of the genus. It can sometimes be found walking on the trunks of trees at night, probably hunting for prey (shieldbacks are carnivorous and feed upon small invertebrates, including other insects). The Least Shieldback has well-developed forewings, but no true hindwings. The forewings extend only a short distance down the abdomen. The abdomen is large and bulging — a fall from a height of a few feet can actually cause fatal injury if the abdominal wall ruptures. If disturbed, the Least shieldback may suddenly jump away with the aid of its powerful hind legs.

Range Map for Least Shieldback

Least Shieldback

Song: A long series of brief swishy rattles, given at a rate of about two per second, or else at uneven intervals. Sings at dusk and into the night. The rattles are very high pitched and have a broad frequency spectrum, peaking at 15 kHz, which is near the upper limits of human hearing. For this reason, many people cannot hear their songs. Adults begin singing in late June in the southern parts of the range and may be heard until the first hard frost.

Sonogram of a Least Shieldback. © Wil Hershberger.



Least Shieldback

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