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Let's get a closer look at the Cricket Family Tree
There’s a number of different cricket species which can be found around the world. We’re here to present you with an overview of some of the more common ones, so you’ll be able to quickly and easily identify what you’re looking at when you happen to stumble across one.
House crickets are the most common variety of cricket in most places. Apart from their use in the pet trade, and even as a food source occasionally, this hardy insect has managed to find a niche in ecologies around the world.
These particular crickets tend to be around anywhere from half an inch to almost an inch long. The females also possess ovipositor that can be almost an additional half an inch, and makes the genders of the species readily identifiable. The male crickets are the singers, and they can certainly keep up a tune for a long time.
They’re pretty easy to identify though, Acheta domesticus are generally of the sizes mentioned above and a lighter brown coloration with striping over the head and thorax. They’ll have antenna as long as their bodies or a bit longer as well.
These useful little insects are some of the most common in the world, having spread far from their original home which is thought to be in Southwest Asia. They’re also the most common commercially available cricket, which makes them even more prevalent.
Very closely related to the house cricket is the field cricket. As their name suggests, field crickets are more likely to be found outdoors. They haven’t quite made the evolutionary leap with depositing eggs as the house cricket and tend to lay their eggs while outside which can keep them from becoming a home nuisance.
The main way to tell them apart from the house cricket is their very dark coloration, most of them range from deep black to dark brown which makes for handy identification in the field. If it looks like a stocky house cricket that’s very dark in coloration, you’re probably looking at a field cricket.
Like the house crickets they’re also singers, and their music accompanies many a warm summer night.
Colloquially called “sprickets” because of their odd general profile, the uninitiated might come away from an encounter with a camel cricket thinking it was a spider. They have longer and thinner legs than a number of other cricket species, but despite the superficial resemblance to arachnids they’re completely harmless.
They get their name from the hump they have on their body which causes a superficial resemblance to camels, although the hump doesn’t bear the same water holding properties as their name-sake. They also lack wings, so they’re not really a true cricket either but their long legs give them an impressive jumping ability.
Mole crickets are quite easy to tell apart from most varieties, they often have large heads with powerful jaws and are quite a bit larger than most crickets. They’re true crickets despite their odd appearance, they both sing and have wings.
Mole crickets are burrowing insects, so they’re most often encountered by humans while working in the garden. They differ from most crickets because a lot of the species of mole cricket are actually predatory, their diet largely consists of smaller insects.
They’re considered pests in some areas of the world due to a lack of natural predators, the vegetarian varieties of these burly insects often eat the roots of grasses and can cause a good amount of soil damage if their population is left unchecked.
As you can see, there’s a wide variety of insects that fall into the family. Grasshoppers and locust are also closely related, with obvious differences in coloration and biology. Really, the hardest ones to tell apart are the house and field crickets, but as long as you keep the color differences in mind you’ll be able to immediately tell what you’re looking at.