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The Urban Scientist

The Urban Scientist

A hip hop maven blogs on urban ecology, evolutionary biology & diversity in the sciences

What’s this in my backyard? A Camel Cricket

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Mid-day yesterday I got a text message from a friend's daughter -- off at school, living in an off-campus house -- asking me about a little invader.

Her:

Do you know what this is?

Me: Yes. A camel cricket.

Her: it's terrifying

Me: Drama

Her: There where a ton of them. Lol I voted to kill them with fire.

Me: With fire? Like end of end of days

I'm sounding all high-and-mighty, unflappable-biologist-lady, but the truth is I would have reacted the same way when I was her age. It takes a good dose of conscious calming down to not freak out when I see most bugs and insects (but spiders, I'm cool with. Go figure.)

Here's a better look at one

source - wikipedia

 

They go by many names: camel crickets, camelback crickets, cave crickets, and spider crickets. It depends on what region you live in. I've heard them called both camel and camelback crickets. They have very long hind legs - portionally longer than most other crickets and the high-bent legs resemble the hump in the back of a camel. And depending on the angle that you view them those long legs and squat body kind of resembles a spider - hence the common nick names.

They are Orthopterans (scientific name of the Order of insects that include crickets, grasshoppers, and locusts). These guys belong to the Family Rhapidophridae. I'm not surprised she encountered a host of them in her house. Autumn is the breeding season for these guys. Males and females will come out in great numbers in an attempt to find each other, mate, and lay eggs before eventually dying. Males chirp to attract females. Only males chirp and you can identify a female by the long ovipositor or stick-like projection from her rear end.

Seems, I was a little off. Males actually stridulate - rubbing their wings across each other - kinda of like raking your fingers over the teeth of the comb. It still works though.

My wings stridulate brings the girls to the yard,

And they're like

It's better than yours,

Damn right it's better than yours,

I can teach you,

But I have to charge

 

www.vevo.com/watch/kelis/milkshake/USAV70300092

I really missed my calling. I as meant to rewrite song lyrics and remake videos with a science slant.

Until later,

DNLee

demystifying nature, letting everyone experience

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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