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Species Gryllus personatus - Badlands Cricket

House Cricket - Gryllus personatus - male Gryllus personatus - male Gryllus personatus - male Gryllus personatus - female Gryllus personatus - female Gryllus personatus - female Gryllus personatus - female Gryllus personatus - female
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids)
Suborder Ensifera (Long-horned Orthoptera)
Infraorder Gryllidea (Crickets)
Family Gryllidae (True Crickets)
Subfamily Gryllinae (Field Crickets)
Genus Gryllus (Field Crickets)
Species personatus (Badlands Cricket )
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Gryllus personatus Uhler 1864
Identification
One of few species usually easily recognized by coloration and pattern. It has a distinctive pattern of dark on tan that varies a bit, but is always basically the same.

The calling song in most regions is a typical Cricket-like chirping, but the frequency and rate of beats make it sound less musical and a bit more "metallic" than most other species of Gryllus. From southwestern New Mexico and westward across southern Arizona a second song is prevalent (but some males can and do produce both songs), in which the song is a nearly continuous, but sporadically interrupted trill. Regardless, the song still has the same metallic quality. Once heard and learned, it is usually easy to know if adults of this species are about, because the song is easily singled out from that of other species.

Gryllus multipulsator is perhaps most similar looking, but adults average darker, and it is a more tropical species which rarely (if ever?) occurs in the same places. The song is similarly "metallic" sounding, but with chirps about twice as long. The relationship between the two species deserves more study.
Range
From southwestern South Dakota to Nevada and south into western Texas and northern Mexico. West as far as se. California.
Habitat
Mostly open clay, silt, or calcareus areas with light-colored dusty soil. Mostly in desert and dry grassland. Often in "badland" type areas on the Great Plains. They tend to most often be found living in cracks in the gound or in similar man-made cracks under sidewalks and foundations. Pouring water into the cracks where you hear them singing is often an easy way to flush them out.
Season
Adults are most commonly seen in late spring through summer. Earlier in the south than in the north. Adults found later in summer and autumn indicate that there is probably a second brood at least southward from Colorado and Utah.
Remarks
Individuals may be long-winged or short-winged. They often come to lights, particularly long-winged individuals which can fly. Adults will shed hind wings (not tegmina) when molested, and thus long-winged individuals often become non-winged individuals.
Internet References
Drawings of the pattern on the head may be seen here in in Rehn & Hebard, 1915. Their take of the genus Gryllus presented in that paper, as being represented by only one native species in the Americas is not that accepted by most people working with the genus now.
A recording of the distinctive male song can be heard on Singing Insects of North America.