The Chicago region for this project includes 22 counties from southeastern Wisconsin around to Berrien County, Michigan. Singing insects are defined here as the cicadas, crickets, katydids, and members of two grasshopper subfamilies with sound displays that people can hear (though the songs of some are so high pitched that only young people can hear them unaided). There are around 100 species, though some I haven’t found outside historical records. I update the guide each year, and this year’s version is just over 100 pages.
The most important changes in the 2017 guide:
- Added species pages for Cuban ground cricket, prairie meadow katydid, short-winged toothpick grasshopper, and clipped-wing grasshopper.
- Removal of the page for the delicate meadow katydid (previous observation proved to be a variant of the dusky-faced meadow katydid; I am concerned that both delicate meadow katydids and slender coneheads may be extinct in the region).
- Change of identification: the species previously labeled northwestern red-winged grasshopper proved to be a color variant of the autumn yellow-winged grasshopper.
- Addition of 145 county records for all species combined, with the filling out of 9 species’ maps.
- Added finds of persisting populations for 3 rare species.
- Continued northward range expansion for the jumping bush cricket.
The guide is available for free as a highly compressed PDF document. (See Online References—Insects for the 2017 guide.) There are maps showing current and historical county records, graphical devices indicating seasonal and time-of-day information, and descriptions of the insects and their songs. Information is presented as well on conservation concerns and ongoing range expansions. To get on the mailing list for future updates, send your request to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those who wish to follow the in-season progress of this research, or with more general interests in natural history, can check out my blog, https://natureinquiries.wordpress.com/ .
—Carl Strang, Wild Things presenter