Reinventing the leaf: multiple origins of leaf-like wings in katydids (Orthoptera:Tettigoniidae) Academic Article uri icon


  • Insects have developed incredible means to avoid detection by predators. At least five insect orders have species that resemble leaves. Katydids (Orthoptera:Tettigoniidae) are the most diverse and wide-ranging of the leaf-like insects. At least 14 of the 20 extant katydid subfamilies contain species with leaf-like wings. Although it is undisputed that many katydids resemble leaves, methods for delineating the leaf-like from non-leaf-like forms have varied by author and in many cases are not explicitly stated. We provide a simple ratio method that can be used to differentiate the leaf-like and non-leaf-like forms. Geometric morphometrics were used to validate the ratio method. Leaf-like wings have been independently derived in at least 15 katydid lineages. Relative rates of speciation were found to be greater in the non-leaf-like forms, suggesting that leaf-like wings within Tettigoniidae are not a driver of diversification. Likewise, throughout Tettigoniidae, selection seems to be favouring the transition away from leaf-like wings. However, within the large Phaneropterinae subclade, relative speciation and transition rates between the leaf-like and non-leaf-like forms do not differ significantly.

published proceedings

  • Invertebrate Systematics

altmetric score

  • 5

author list (cited authors)

  • Mugleston, J., Naegle, M., Song, H., Bybee, S. M., Ingley, S., Suvorov, A., & Whiting, M. F.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Mugleston, Joseph||Naegle, Michael||Song, Hojun||Bybee, Seth M||Ingley, Spencer||Suvorov, Anton||Whiting, Michael F

publication date

  • August 2016