Singing Insects of North America lists approximately 25 genera. (1)
lists 122 North American species in this subfamily.
Usually have short wings, brown or black coloration. Pronotum usually shield-like, extends back over wings. Resemble robust crickets. True "shieldbacks", e.g., Atlanticus, have reduced wings, especially in females, and are flightless.
Most genera (21 or so) in western North America. Four genera in east, Atlanticus is widespread.
Varied: open country, croplands, a few in forests
Some species are active predators of other insects. Many also eat plant material and scavenge dead insects.
Formerly called subfamily Decticinae. May bite if handled. In Europe, called "Wart Biters". Some species are pests of crops, such as the "Mormon Cricket", Anabrus simplex.
Capinera, pp. 184-191, plates 41-42 (2)
Arnett, pp. 163-164, figs. 11.19--Anabrus, 11.2--Atlanticus, 11.21--Peranabrus, 11.22--Hubbellia. (3)
Helfer, pp. 281-303, figs. 437-481 illustrates several genera. (4)
key to Eastern genera
, species list
--has links to several accounts with photos
Insects of Cedar Creek
--Minnesota, only Atlanticus is listed