Then we received an email from Nathan Harness, biologist at the University of Missouri who studies katydids. Harness confirmed it was a katydid with a number of scientific details, including those long antennae, but mostly that small dark oval on its front leg, which is its ear (see arrow in photo).
From an evolutionary standpoint, what purpose does having ears on their legs serve? It would seem to be a liability if they lose a leg in escaping a predator.
As far as why there isn't selection against ears on forelegs, I have never caught a katydid that didn't have both forelegs. And usually if a leg is gone, it's a hind leg. They drop their hind legs readily, like a lizard loosing it's tail."
Learn more about katydids, see perhaps the cutest little katydid, ever, by following Harness on Twitter: @nathan_harness.