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Eastern Shieldback Katydid (Atlanticus spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Eastern Shieldback Katydid

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Image Credit: Cynthia C. from Bourne, MA on Cape Cod
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Image Credit: Cynthia C. from Bourne, MA on Cape Cod
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The Eastern Shieldback is type of native katydid, always carrying an armored plate that seems to do little to protect it.

Updated: 01/03/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Eastern Shieldbacks are related to crickets and grasshoppers. The flat and wide pronotum resembles a shield. Eastern Shieldbacks are a mottled brown, blending in with dead grasses and leaf litter. Long, powerful legs allow them to jump. They are not able to fly because they lack wings, but they may bite. The wingless, exposed abdomen gives this katydid a confusing appearance. Females have a long curved ovipositor protruding from the abdomen. It is not a stinger, though it looks like one. Ovipositors are used to deposit fertilized eggs deep into the soil.

Eastern Shieldbacks are not picky eaters and consume a variety of plant matter and insects. They are found in the eastern part of the U.S. in forests and woodlands where they forage. Though they can't fly, their strong legs allow them to leap quite a distance when threatened.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Insect biting icon
Jumping insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Orthoptera
        Family: Tettigoniidae
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          Genus: Atlanticus
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            Species: spp.

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Atlanticus spp.
Category: Grasshopper or Cricket
Size (Adult; Length): 25mm to 35mm (0.98" to 1.37")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown
Descriptors: biting; jumping; thick; cricket

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 25mm (1.0in) and 35mm (1.4in)
Lo: 25mm
Md: 30mm
Hi: 35mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Eastern Shieldback Katydid may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Eastern Shieldback Katydid. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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