Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes



Family Stenopelmatidae - Jerusalem Crickets

Jerusalem Cricket? - Ammopelmatus Stenopelmatus sp.  - Ammopelmatus unknown insect - Ammopelmatus Jerusalem Cricket - Ammopelmatus Unknown Bug - Ammopelmatus Giant insect - Ammopelmatus Ammopelmatus jerusalem - Ammopelmatus
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 Stenopelmatidae (Jerusalem Crickets)
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)
Length: Up to 7.5 cm
Weight: Up to 13 gm
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.
Life Cycle
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 or Paragordius 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)
Internet References
Jerusalem Cricket entry in Encyclopedia of Entomology — excellent overall summary on these creatures.
"Jerusalem! Cricket? Origins of a Common Name" by David Weissman, CalAcademy — 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.
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.Grasshoppers and Mantids of the World
Ken Preston-Mafham. 1991. Facts on File, Inc.