Nebraska Conehead (Neoconocephalus nebrascensis)

Song of a Nebraska Conehead (scroll down for explanation and additional recordings!).

insect_musicians_neocono-nebra_WH_DIGIThe Nebraska Conehead is perhaps not very well named. Yes, it is found in Nebraska, but its range is much broader, extending southward to Mississippi and eastward to Maryland. It occurs in both green and brown forms. Identified by its compact body structure, a broad head cone that is completely black when viewed from below, and wings that are unmarked or else lightly speckled with dark spots. Found hanging head down more often than not, an individual is prepared to execute its escape strategy — falling headfirst into the grass litter, where it will remain motionless to avoid detection. If further disturbed it will scurry away, work its way up a grass stem, and then fly away. Nebraska Coneheads are found along roadsides, in coarse weeds at the edge of fields and woods, and in brushy ground cover in open woods.

Nebraska Conehead cone from below.

Cone from below.

Range Map for Nebraska Conehead

Nebraska Conehead

Song: A series of shrill buzzes pitched at around 10 kHz, each lasting about 1.5–2 seconds, with pauses of about one second between: zeeeee . . . zeeeee . . . zeeeee . . . Loud and piercing, song is at once annoying but intriguing. Singing goes on continuously unless the male is disturbed. Neighboring males often synchronize their buzzes, with individuals starting at slightly different times but always stopping at exactly the same instant, thereby accentuating the pauses between songs.
Sonogram of a Nebraska Conehead. © Wil Hershberger.



Nebraska Conehead

• click to enlarge •

• click to enlarge •

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