Spiny Devil Katydid – These Species Are Covered with Hundred Spikes

The spiny devil katydid is one of the most unique and interesting species. Its spikes all over its body give it a fierce appearance. The creature is also one of the weirdest insects in the world. So, let’s find out more about this spike-headed katydid.  

Spiny devil katydid
Scientific name: Panacanthus
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera

1. They are full of spikes

Spike-headed katydid, or Panacanthus, is one of the conehead katydids. With a length of just 3 inches, it is considered one of the most fearsome animals on the planet among the 6,500 species of katydids.

There are about 7 types of spiny devil katydid. The common feature of these types is that their bodies are covered with spikes, from their head to their thorax to their legs. These spikes help them easily blend into their environments to hide from predators.

Here are 7 species of spike-headed katydids:

– Panacanthus cuspidatus: this spiny devil katydid has a red, five-pointed horn that protrudes from its head. It has a green body with reddish eyes and yellow-orange mouthpart and ‘belly’. There is a yellow spot between its eyes and antennae which can be 2-3 times as long as its body.

P.cuspidatus

– Panacanthus pallicornis: this one comes in various shades of green. Its back is covered with small black patches. The three-pointed horn on its head can be black, red, or green. This spiny devil katydid often features white eyes and a yellow-orange mouthpart.

A spiny devil katydid is on the leaves
P.pallicornis

– Panacanthus varius: the color of this thorny devil katydid is a mixture of green, red, brown, and black. While its legs are green, its wings are coated with different patches of brown and black color. The face of this katydid is the most highlighted part with the combination of red, black, and white colors.

– Panacanthus intensus: the color of this spike-headed katydid is different than the other spiny devil katydids. It features a dark color with turquoise spikes, instead of green color. The creature has yellow eyes, a dark horn, and a red face and mouthpart.

P.intensus

– Panacanthus lacrimans: The color, patterns, and features on the face of this species make it look like the face of an old man. The spiny devil katydid has brown eyes and an orange face, horn, and spikes. Its wings are black.

P.lacrimans/Cre: on pic

– Panacanthus spinosus

P. spinosus/Cre: on pic

– Panacanthus gibbosus

Fact:
The species is known by different names, like spiny-headed katydid, thorny devil bush cricket, spike-headed katydids, spine-headed katydids, spiny devil katydid, or thorny devil katydid. These names are used for all Panacanthus species.

2. Natural Habitat

In the Ecuadorian Amazon region near Puerto Misahualli, you can find spike-headed katydids residing in the lush tropical rainforest.

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3. They can tear your skin

These insects are equipped with formidable mouthparts that allow them to feed on their food, despite the absence of teeth. Their jaws are so powerful and sharp that they can easily pierce your skin. But don’t worry, they do not pose any significant harm.

Spiny devil katydid's mouth can tear your skin

Besides extremely strong jaws, spiny devil katydids also have several ways to protect themselves. With numerous spines covering their bodies, they may cause damage to predators. Their six spiky legs can be used to fend off enemies or trap prey.

These nocturnal creatures have quite a few predators, such as snakes, bats, monkeys, birds, and shrews.

4. Diet

Spiny devil katydids are omnivore animals. They can eat other plants or species such as grasshoppers. You can see how they catch and eat the prey on the video below.

5. Spiny devil katydid life cycle

Spiny devil katydids undergo an incomplete metamorphosis, which consists of three stages: eggs, nymphs, and adults. Unlike those with complete metamorphosis, these insects skip the pupa stage.

Females lay eggs in various locations such as soil, plant stems, or tree bark. Once the eggs hatch, nymphs emerge and closely resemble adults. However, they are smaller and don’t have wings. Throughout their development, the nymphs will molt about five times until they transform into full-fledged adults.

The lifespan of most katydid species is one year or less, however, in tropical regions, some species can live for several years.

References:

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Animal Facts 276

We are passionate animal enthusiasts with over a decade of experience studying animals. With a degree in zoology and conservation biology, we've contributed to various research and conservation projects. We're excited to bring you engaging content that highlights the wonders of the animal kingdom. We aim to inspire others to appreciate and protect wildlife through informative content grounded in expertise and passion. Join us as we delve into the captivating world of animals and discover the incredible stories they have to tell.

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