How to Identify the Gender of Crickets
Just a friendly reminder that we do have live crickets for sale. But, if you’re breeding crickets, you might have found yourself wondering how to tell which ones are males and females. Perhaps you want to breed only the largest crickets in order to work on creating your own strain of selectively bred super crickets that will take over the world when you’re done, or you might just want to put the males in the garage for a while in order to avoid their singing. Read on and we’ll show you how you can easily tell the difference.
The visual difference is pretty easy once you’re looking at adult crickets. While all crickets have two appendages on the rear of their abdomen, females will have a third which is called the ovipositor. It will be significantly longer than the other two, up to three-quarters of an inch long, and this tube is how they lay eggs. In a cricket with no defects, it will point directly backwards from the abdomen.
The ovipositor is stabbed into a soft substrate in order to allow your crickets to lay eggs. It’s not a unique feature as far as arthropods go, but if you’re not a budding entomologist it can be a bit surprising to find out what it’s for.
You might even be able to tell on crickets that haven’t fully grown yet, but it’s a much more difficult task with non-mature crickets since the formation of this useful sexual organ is actually a huge part of what makes them mature crickets in the first place. If you see the beginnings of an unpaired “spike” forming, it’s pretty likely the immature cricket you’re examining is a female.
The presence of an ovipositor is definitely the easiest way to tell your females apart from the males at a glance.
The males and females have a slightly different wing structure as well. Males wings will be shorter and a bit sturdier and have a few key structural differences which will allow you to differentiate between them. These key differences are actually why male crickets chirp.
The first difference will be that the underside of a male cricket’s wings will have a rough texture, as opposed to the mostly smooth texture we’d normally associate with wings. This rough patch on the underside of their wings is known as the “file.”
The second difference is that there is a thickened part on the front of their forewings, which is known as a “scraper.” It can be a bit hard to differentiate visually, but it almost looks like a rough cover over the front of this wing.
Of course, most of us know that if our crickets are chirping, they’re definitely males. The sound is associated with quiet nights, and it’s actually their primary form of attracting a mate. They make their iconic sound by rubbing their wings together, the scraper going over the file rapidly creates their “song” which can be either pleasing or irritating depending on your own tastes.
A bit less obvious, but you’ll find that female crickets tend to be a little bit bigger. The abdomen, in particular, will be longer and wider due to differences in their internal structure like the presence of eggs. It’s not really something to rely on as an indicator, just something to be aware of if you’re looking for a few of a specific gender to separate from a larger group.
We hope we’ve helped you figure out which gender your crickets are, whatever your reason. While a lot of people tend to think “a bug’s a bug”, these fascinating little insects are actually quite gender-dysmorphic and the more you know about them, the better your chances will be of being able to raise them successfully for your own purposes.