Cricket

Crickets are primarily known for the distinct chirping noises they make at night. These little creatures come in various colors, have adapted to several different environments, and consume a wide range of foodstuffs.

Cricket Scientific Classification

Animalia
Arthropoda
Insecta
Orthoptera

Scientific Classification

Cricket

Animalia
Arthropoda
Insecta
Orthoptera

They are of the same family of insects as grasshoppers and katydids but are classified separately. Their distribution is cosmopolitan and, as a result, has made a significant impact on human culture throughout the world.

List of the Common Types of Cricket species

There are about 2400 members of cricket species.

  • Camel cricket
  • Mormon Cricket
  • Jerusalem Cricket
  • House Cricket
  • King Cricket
  • Roesel’s Bush Cricket
  • Australian Field Cricket
  • European Field Cricket
  • Jamaican Field Cricket
  • Emma Field Cricket
  • Two-spotted Cricket
  • Bell-ring Cricket
  • Pine Cricket
  • Silent Leaf-runner Cricket
  • Tobacco Cricket
  • Oriental Mole Cricket

Cricket

Physical Description and Appearance

Size: They are small-to-medium-sized insects, ranging from 0.12 to 2 inches (3-50 mm). Species of bull crickets are the largest, measuring about 2 inches (5 cm).

Head and eyes: Their heads are spherical, with long antennae, behind which lie two big compound eyes. They even have three simple eyes on their forehead.

Body:  Crickets are vertically flat and cylindrically shaped. Their bodies consist of two major segments, excluding the head – the thorax and abdomen. The thorax has a trapezoidal protonum, while the abdomen comprises a long pair of cerci or appendages and a set of strong legs. 

Wings: These vary from one species to the other. Some, like field crickets or house crickets, have wings well-suited to flight. Others have wings unsuited to fly for a long distance. While those like the Jerusalem cricket cannot fly at all.

Their ability to fly depends on the size of the forewings and the hindwings – the longer the hindwings, the likelier they are to fly.

Color: They come in shades of gray, brown, yellow, and green. Some even have two or multiple colors, blending into each other, like brown to black or yellow.

Field crickets are dark brown, while tree crickets are pale green or white.

Cricket Insect

Distribution

They are found worldwide, except for places at latitudes higher than about 55° North and South.

Habitat

Crickets live in varied habitats, including tree canopies, bushes, grasses, herbs, on the ground, inside caves, under shallow or deep burrows, and rotting wood.

How long do they live

On average, a cricket lives for 90 days.

What do they eat

Omnivorous by nature, their diet consists of aphids, grasses, flowers, fruits, larvae, leaves, and seeds. 

Black Cricket

Behavior

  • These insects are mostly nocturnal, hiding during the day in small crevices in the ground and rocks and under decayed or dead vegetation.
  • Several species of crickets can generate a chirping noise referred to as a “song”. This can be done only by the males. 
  • Males can be aggressive towards other males, chirping and sometimes even fighting them to protect their territory.
  • While certain crickets are capable of flight, most do so clumsily and travel mainly on the ground.

Adaptations

  • The wings, when rubbed against each other, produce a chirping noise. Only the males are capable of chirping since they have a blade-like structure or scraper on their wings, helping in the process.
  • Those who can sing can also hear well because of the tympana or hearing structure on their forelegs, functioning like an ear, catching sound quickly.
  • Some have sharp spines in the legs that serve as a defense in warding predators.
  • Crickets have strong hind legs that allow them to leap long distances. Some, like the mole cricket have robust front legs that facilitate digging.
  • Their jaws are powerful and capable of hurting humans.
  • Some species of crickets have generated patterns and colors over time to match their surroundings, giving them near-perfect camouflage.
Cricket Image

Mating and Reproduction

When the mating period starts, males will compete with one another physically using their antennae, mandibles, and limbs. They chirp in a unique tone during this time, to deter competition and attract potential mates. After selecting a partner and going through a courtship period, copulation takes place. 

Females lay the eggs either below the soil or in the stems of plants with the help of an ovipositor. The size replicates a rice grain, varying from gray to purplish. Some species, like the short-tailed cricket, feed their larvae regularly after they hatch for about a month.

Conservation

The cricket is currently not a primary concern for conservation as populations remain steady worldwide.

Cricket – FAQs

1. Why do crickets chirp?

Crickets chirp for many different reasons – ward off males, attract a mate, and show dominance.

2. Do crickets bite?

Yes, crickets can bite humans when disturbed or agitated.

3. Are crickets considered good luck?

Yes, it is considered a symbol of good luck in several countries across the globe.

4. Are crickets and grasshoppers the same thing?

No, though crickets and grasshoppers are close cousins, they are not the same species. A key distinguishing feature lies in how they produce sound – Crickets do so while rubbing their wings together. On the other hand, grasshoppers chirp by rubbing their hind legs against their wings.

Cricket Picture

Interesting Facts

  • Crickets have played an extensive part in human culture and literature. Some examples being – Charles Dickens’ The Cricket on the Hearth, William Wordsworth’s The Cottager to Her Infant, and Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio.
  • In ancient China, crickets were often made to fight as a form of sport. Initially, these used to be royal affairs, but eventually it became a sport of the commoners.
  • They are also kept as pets and reared as livestock in Southeastern Asia in countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • Perhaps the most recognizable cricket in fiction is Jiminy Cricket from the Disney animated feature “Pinocchio,” who acted as a spiritual guide and conscience to the character of Pinocchio throughout the movie.
  • The term “you could hear crickets chirping” is often used to refer to an awkward silence.