Mormon Cricket

The Mormon Cricket, one of our largest, belongs to a group commonly called shield-backed katydids. Unlike other hoppers, the adults typically do not develop fully formed wings; here you can see the short wings of the male. Females have a long sword-like ovipositor for egg laying. Mormon crickets have variable coloration and may vary from black, brown, red, purplish or green, and may undergo morphological changes triggered by high population densities; solitary individuals typically have green or purple coloration, while swarming individuals are often black, brown or red. In the swarming phase, these large insects can become severe agricultural pests.