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Katydids are among the most commonly seen Australian insects. They range in size from about 5 mm to well over 90 mm and occur in many habitats all over Australia. Katydids are masters of deception, imitating twigs, bark, leaves and stems, as well as other insects. A few are brightly coloured and are distasteful to predators. They continue to be research subjects in many university curricula, where students study their behaviour, acoustical physiology and ecology.
A Guide to the Katydids of Australia explores this diverse group of insects from the family Tettigoniidae, which comprises more than 1000 species in Australia, including Norfolk and Lord Howe islands. It highlights their relationships to plants, humans and the environment, and includes colour photographs of many species.
Sound and hearing
Collecting and studying katydids
Guide to species
Key to subfamilies of Australian katydids
List of the Tettigoniidae (katydids) of Australia
Appendix 1: Keeping katydids alive and preservation of specimens
Appendix 2: Special interest groups and entomological supplies
David Rentz received his PhD in Entomology from the University of California, Berkeley and worked in Philadelphia and San Francisco before coming to Australia. From 1976 to 2001 he was Curator of Orthopteroid Insects in the Australian National Insect Collection, Canberra (CSIRO). The Tettigoniidae is his research specialty, with three volumes of a monograph on the Australian species to his credit. He has written widely on Australian Orthopteroid insects and has produced a number of CDs and CD-ROMs as well as popular books on the Australian fauna. Now retired, he lives in Kuranda, Queensland.
"This book is another excellent title in CSIRO's guide series. It is rich with high quality images and structured quite well [...] Needless to say, for those interested in this group it is a must-have item, whether it is for formal study or to find out which species is calling from the shrub in the backyard. It is nicely presented and for the most part very user friendly."
- Alan Henderson, The Victorian Naturalist, Vol 128 (4), August 2011, pp. 149-150
" [...] a 'must have' for entomologists. Vivid colour photos of live specimens and useful descriptions intrigue, while information on undescribed genera and species gives insight."
- Dr Dave Britton, Explore, Summer 2010-2011
"If you have any interest in this field of insects, then this guide is certainly a must to put on your wish list."
- Josh Birse, Land for Wildlife South East Queensland, January 2011
"One of its great strength is that instead of encompassing an entire order it deals with one family of insects in detail. Authored by the country's most eminent orthopterist it is not an "ordinary" guide book but a true scientific work written in a language that is easy to understand. A Guide to the Katydids of Australia is a great gap filler in the popular Australian entomological literature. It belongs to a genre that is most appreciated by amateurs and the professional entomologist alike."
- George Hangay, TARSUS No. 594 Nov 2010
"The saturation of habitus images will allow the knowledgeable katydid-ologist to have a good guess as to whether they might have picked up a new species. Writing a book on a group of organisms where the taxonomy still requires a lot of work is a difficult task. David Rentz has achieved this with ease, which is a testament to his vast knowledge, skill and continuing commitment to unraveling this most marvelous of insect taxa. I commend this book to you and I am thrilled to see that David Rentz continues on with his invaluable contributions to Australian entomology."
- Gerry Cassis, Linnean Society of NSW Newsletter, October 2010
"You might think that you could get all this book's information from the web, but you'd be wrong. As well as being a field guide it has a vast amount of information that only someone who has devoted his life to their study could provide, not to mention a wealth of excellent photos, most at least apparently taken in the wild. Add it to your car library and increase still further the pleasure of your next outing."
- Ian Fraser, Natural History Book Reviews, http://www.botanicalbookshop.com.au/reviews.asp
"The book is well-produced and easy to read, and is an excellent introduction to this notable insect group. It will contain information new to every reader, and should do much to encourage wider interest in these, often spectacular, insects."
- Tim R New, Journal of Insect Conservation, 2010
" [...] it is an excellent guide and relatively easy to use, with bits and pieces of interesting information. If it is any consolation to the author, the guide has inspired me to sort my insect collection, and to spend the time identifying them as far as I can. Who knows, I might have a new or rare species, or at least a new location!"
- Maria Matthes, Australian Plant Conservation, Vol 19, No 2, September-November 2010
"A range of subjects are explained in clear, easy to follow language, providing the reader with a myriad of topics to discover [...] In the end, it does not matter if you are a budding entomologist or just an opportunistic garden bug spotter, this guide will provide hours of great reading or viewing pleasure."
- Australian Defence Force newsletter, July 2010