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KATYDID ONE OF THE NIGHT CRIERS
By Marshall McClung
The katydid is to the night what the cicada is to the day, filling the night with its tune. Those with a ear for music say that the katydid plays the same three notes over and over. To others, it may sound like it is saying "Katy did, Katy did", over and over. We don't know what Katy did, but that is likely how the katydid got its name.
In July and August, the katydid joins a whole host of other night criers to make them the noisiest nights of the year. The katydid is an ordinary looking green grasshopper that hatches from a small egg that looks somewhat like a bean or pea. Since the katydid makes its noise with its wings, it is silent at first until it grows wings. By late July it has reached the winged stage, and the music begins. Only the male sings, and the female hears him with ears located near her knees.
As we approach late summer in August, the katydid is joined by other night criers including an assortment of katydid look-a-likes, crickets, and other lesser known kinfolks. Almost all of these night criers are wing-scratchers, and they make the summer nights literally vibrate with sound.
The katydid is considered a weather prophet of sorts. Legend has it that when the katydid first starts calling at night that it is three months until the first frost. In late summer, when the katydid calls during the day from pockets of dark shade then it is six weeks until the first frost.
Our summer nights will remain noisy now until the first hard frost silences the night criers and the katydid has sung its own epitaph.
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