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Thoracistus sp, Iphithi Natuurreservaat, b.jpg
Thoracistus sp., male in mid-winter, calling at dusk from a marsh edge
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Superfamily: Tettigonioidea
Family: Tettigoniidae
Subfamily: Tettigoniinae
Pictet, 1888

Thoracistus is a genus of decticine or shield-backed katydid in the family Tettigoniidae. [1] The mostly carnivorous genus is endemic to South Africa. [2]

Tettigoniidae family of insects

Insects in the family Tettigoniidae are commonly called katydids, or bush crickets. They have previously been known as long-horned grasshoppers. More than 6,400 species are known. Part of the suborder Ensifera, the Tettigoniidae are the only extant (living) family in the superfamily Tettigonioidea.

South Africa Republic in the southernmost part of Africa

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European (White), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.



This genus of decticine is extreme in the extent of its inflated pronotum. The pronotum completely conceals the tiny wings, which are used for stridulation only. [2] The pronotum functions as a resonating chamber, to amplify the singing of the male. As in all decticines a "free plantula" is found at the base of the tarsus of the jumping leg. This pair of elongate pads may aid jumping in ground biomes. [2]


They are bush or ground-dwelling insects, but unlike the majority of decticines, occur in mesic rather than xeric habitats. They hide by day in thickets, and become active at dusk when they ascend plants to feed on smaller insects. [2] After dark males call to the females, which are silent. The sound of a male chorus can carry some distance. The eggs hatch from late spring to early summer. They reach adulthood from late summer to fall. [2]


Species include:

Thoracistus arboreus, the Arboreal Seedpod Shieldback is a species of katydid in the family Tettigoniidae. The species is endemic to Clarens, South Africa.

Thoracistus peringueyi, the Peringuey's seedpod shieldback, is a species of katydid in the family Tettigoniidae. The species is endemic to South Africa, and is listed as critically endangered. It is only known from a male and female specimen that were collected prior to 1879 from a location in Lydenburg district.

See also

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  1. Picker, Mike; et al. (2004). Field Guide to Insects of South Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. p. 82. ISBN   978-1-77007-061-5.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Werger, M. J. A. (ed.); van Bruggen, A.C. (ed.) (1978). Biogeography and Ecology of Southern Africa. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. p. 739. ISBN   9400999518.