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Species Anabrus simplex - Mormon Cricket

Mormon Cricket - Anabrus simplex - female Green camel cricket? - Anabrus simplex - female big cricket? - Anabrus simplex - female Cricket - Anabrus simplex - female Anabrus simplex - female Anabrus simplex - male Anabrus simplex - male In swarm mode - Anabrus simplex - female
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids)
Suborder Ensifera (Long-horned Orthoptera)
Infraorder Tettigoniidea (Katydids, Camel Crickets, and relatives)
Family Tettigoniidae (Katydids)
Subfamily Tettigoniinae (Shield-backed Katydids)
Genus Anabrus
Species simplex (Mormon Cricket)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Anabrus simplex Haldeman, 1852
Explanation of Names
Common name refers to invasion of agricultural lands farmed by Mormon settlers in the Great Salt Lake Basin in the 19th century, especially an outbreak in 1848 (Hartley, 2011).
28-45 mm (1)
western United States and adjacent southern Canada: s. Manitoba, Dakotas, Nebraska, Colorado, n. New Mexico west to British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California (1).

Status of records of Anabrus simplex (in a museum collection) said to be from eastern Tennessee is unclear--that would be a 1,000 mile (1,600 km) extension of the range (Goodwin and Powders, 1970). It does not seem the species is found there currently. (Perhaps a mislabeling of location in museum specimens?)
open habitats, usually with little vegetation
June-September (adults)
Life Cycle
Eggs may lay dormant in soil for a number of years, and then many may hatch in an area in the same season when conditions are ideal. Eggs hatch in spring when soil becomes warm enough, with adults often present by as early as late May (depending upon local conditions), and usually most abundant as adults in June and July. Most are generally gone by sometime in August or September, but some may live until the first freezes of autumn. If swarming occurs, it is usually most prominent early in the season, made up of nymphs and/or young adults. Later in the season (usually by August) swarms tend to break up, and older adults tend to become more sedentary. However, timing may vary a great deal from place to place and year to year, depending upon weather conditions.
Though flightless, this species can form migratory swarms or "bands" that travel on foot, eating almost anything (both plant and sometimes small animal) in their paths, and have been significantly destructive to rangeland and crops at times. Swarming occurs primarily in the Wyoming Basin, Colorado Plateaus, Great Basin, and Columbia Plateau. In the Sierras, Rockies, and other higher mountain areas, and on the northern Great Plains, individuals average smaller, are usually non-migratory, and coloring is commonly of lighter colors (often tan or green). Individuals in bands are most commonly of a deep brown, often nearly black color.
Print References
Capinera, p. 187, plate 41 (1)
J.T. Goodwin and V.N. Powders (1970). A range extension for the mormon cricket, Anabrus simplex. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 63 (2), 623-624 (abstract)
Helfer, pp. 299-300, figs. 472-474 (2)
Internet References
Hartley, William (2011). Mormons, Crickets, and Gulls: A New Look at an Old Story (in The New Mormon History)
Washington State University--Orchard Pest Management Online--Mormon Cricket
Works Cited
1.Field Guide To Grasshoppers, Katydids, And Crickets Of The United States
John L. Capinera, Ralph D. Scott, Thomas J. Walker. 2004. Cornell University Press.
2.How to Know the Grasshoppers, Cockroaches, and Their Allies
Jacques R. Helfer. 1962. Wm. C. Brown Company.