Other Common Names
Sand Crickets, Wetas, Potato Bugs, Children of the Earth (Nina de la tierra)(Mexico), Stone Crickets, Chaco
Over 50 spp. in our area, mostly undescribed(1)
; ca. 200 described spp. worldwide in 1991(2)
w. NA from BC to Central America
Most of their lives are spent underground. Damp, sandy soil is preferred.
Organic matter found in the soil.
Eggs are laid several inches underground by females. They hatch in spring and fully grown adults develop by fall.
Although it is not aggressive and has no venom, will bite if molested. The powerful jaws usually used when burrowing through the earth and feeding on roots. Keep a respectful distance.
Good image of defensive posture at thumbnail below:
"They are sometimes found dead in swimming pools and ponded waters. This is either the result of a simple drowning or a parasite infection. The horsehair worm (Gordius
spp.) can inhabit the cricket's gut and feed. The worm can alter the behavior of the cricket and force it to seek water. Once in water, the worm bursts through the insect's abdomen and seeks a mate. The cricket dies from the wound." (Ask Dr. Bug
"The Dark Side of Entomology"
— brief article from Cal. Acad. of Sciences archives.
Stenopelmatus fuscus, Jerusalem Cricket
— web-page from San Diego Nat. Hist. Mus., with sound recording of Jerusalem Cricket "drumming" at top of page.