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‘Unusual’ creature – with ultrasonic song – escapes from its cage. It’s a new species

In a meadow in Argentina, an ‘unusual’ creature called into the darkness. The small animal’s song was inaudible to humans, but still attracted the attention of visiting scientists.

Lucas Rubio spotted the unfamiliar-looking cricket in a meadow in Buenos Aires province in 2023 and captured it, according to a study published April 11 in the peer-reviewed journal Zootaxa.

While researchers were still studying the “unusual” insect, it escaped from its cage and disappeared into a team member’s apartment, the study said.

The setback was temporary.

Researchers found two more similar-looking insects in February 2024 and were finally able to confirm their suspicions. They had discovered a new species: Conocephalus tuyu, or the Tuyú meadow katydid.

Katydids, also called bush crickets, are closely related to crickets and grasshoppers.

A Conocephalus tuyu, or the Tuyú meadow katydid, was perched on some plants.  Photo by Lucas Rubio via iNaturalist

A Conocephalus tuyu, or the Tuyú meadow katydid, was perched on some plants. Photo by Lucas Rubio via iNaturalist


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Tuyú katydids are “very small,” their bodies are about half an inch long, the study said. They are “mostly green” with a “reddish-brown” stripe down their back.

Photos shared by Rubio on the citizen science platform iNaturalist show the new species. The insect has excellent pink eyes and seems to blend in well with its surroundings.

Tuyú katydids have ultrasonic calling songs that are inaudible to humans, the study said. These nocturnal songs can last several minutes and occur over an “extremely” wide range of ultrasonic frequencies.

A Conocephalus tuyu, or the Tuyú meadow katydid, blends in with its surroundings.  Photo by Lucas Rubio via iNaturalistA Conocephalus tuyu, or the Tuyú meadow katydid, blends in with its surroundings.  Photo by Lucas Rubio via iNaturalist

A Conocephalus tuyu, or the Tuyú meadow katydid, blends in with its surroundings. Photo by Lucas Rubio via iNaturalist

Researchers described the new species as elusive and “stealthy.” They found it in “meadows and grasslands in or near the sand dunes along the beaches of the Atlantic coast” of Argentina.

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The new species is named after the Tuyú region where it was discovered and the only area where it has been found so far, the study said.

The Tuyú region is located in the province of Buenos Aires, approximately 480 kilometers southeast of Buenos Aires.

The new species was identified by its color, body shape, song, genitalia and other subtle physical characteristics, the study said. Researchers have not provided DNA analysis of the new species.

The research team consisted of Lucas Rubio and Holger Braun.

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