Introduction Crickets are in the Gryllidae family of insects. They are closely related to grasshoppers, weta, and Katydids. They have slightly flattened bodies and quite long antennae compared to their body length. The tympanum, or ear, is located in their hind legs, which have been modified for jumping. There are over 900 species of crickets identified so far.
Feeding Crickets tend to be nocturnal. They do most of their feeding by night. They are omnivorous scavengers and eat just about anything including their own dead. When there is little food around they have also been known to become predatory and attack weaker or injured crickets. Their jaws are relatively powerful and they have been known to bite humans.
Fig. 4 Female Ovipositor
Their mating season is typically in the late summer, in which they lay their eggs in the autumn months. The eggs will then hatch in the spring. Fertile females can produce an average of 200 per breeding cycle. The crickets pictured, Acetadomestica, actually lay eggs at an average of twice a month. The females use a long needle-like organ called an ovipositor to lay their eggs. The cricket goes through an incomplete metamorphosis, or hemimetabolism- From egg, to nymph, and the on to the adult stage. The nymph crickets resemble the adult version, only smaller and without wings and ovipositor on the females.
Chirping Known as stridulation, this sound is produced by an organ that runs along the bottom of each wing. It is covered with small "teeth" and when rubbed together it produces the chirping noise we hear. Only male crickets stridulate. There are four different types of songs: A calling song to attract females, a song to ward off other males, an aggressive song that is triggered by chemoreceptors that detect when other males are near, and a copulatory song that happens when a successful mating has ended.
Crickets can chirp at higher an lower rates depending on many factors such as their species, and the temperature. According to Dolbear's Law counting the number of chirps in 14 seconds by the snowy tree cricket and adding 40 will give you the approximate temperature in Fahrenheit.
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