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

Upcoming Events

National Moth Week photos of insects and people. Here's how to add your images.

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa


Genus Stenopelmatus - Jerusalem Cricket

Creepy Guy - Stenopelmatus Scary Thing on My Front Porch - Stenopelmatus I kinda like this bug, I don't what it is or where it came from - Stenopelmatus J. (not Jiminy) Cricket - Stenopelmatus Unidentified bug near San Diego, Ca - Stenopelmatus Stenopelmatus? - Stenopelmatus Stenopelmatus? - Stenopelmatus Mole cricket? - Stenopelmatus
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)
Genus Stenopelmatus (Jerusalem Cricket)
Other Common Names
Woh-tzi-Neh (Navajo, variously translated as "old bald-headed man", "skull insect", or "bone-neck beetle"), Nina de la Tierra (Spanish, "child of the earth"), Potato Bug, Devil's Baby.
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
First described in 1838 by Hermann Burmeister
Explanation of Names
Stenopalmatus is probably from Greek stenos (στενος)- "narrow, straight" + pelma (πελμα)- "sole (of the foot)"
Numbers lists 8 species of Stenopelmatus
Capinera (1) states the genus needs revision, with 14 species currently described in the family, but more than 60 North American species likely--most presumably in this genus.
21-69 mm
Wingless. Antennae long. Front of pronotum is wide, antennae widely separated at base, head is very large. Tibiae are robust with spines for digging, and tarsi have pads beneath. Hind femora do not extend beyond tip of abdomen in this family (1). (Note: this description applies to the whole family, but this is the most widespread genus in our area.)

The other North American genus in this family, Ammopelmatus, has, apparently, only two rare and local representatives.
Western United States, basically west of 100 west longitude--just reaching western Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas. Dark Jerusalem Cricket, S. fuscus is widespread, likely represents a species group (1).
Varied, often found under rocks and logs, when digging, etc. Will often come to lights at night.
Predatory on other insects, also feeds on roots, decaying vegetation. Sometimes found eating potatoes.
Life Cycle
Live in burrows and under rocks, logs, may wander on surface at night. Adults, and sometimes nymphs, strike ground with abdomen to produce species-specific drumming patterns (1). Female makes depression in soil for masses of oval, white eggs. Female often devours mate. One generation per year. Life history based on Milne's (2) description of that for Stenopelmatus fuscus.
Said to be able to deliver a strong bite, but also to make a good terrarium pet.
See Also
Ammopelmatus--species rare and local.
Print References
Capinera, pp. 216-217, plate 48 (1)
Milne, pp. 437-438, plate 247--S. fuscus (2)
Arnett and Jacques, #27--S. fuscus (3)
Powell and Hogue, pp. 70, 72, give several common names, plate 2e--S. fuscus (4)
Helfer, pp. 305-306, figs. 483, 484 (5)
Olson, #27 (6)
Werner and Olson, pp. 43-44 (7)
Internet References
SINA family page--photo of a Stenopelmatus
Handbuch der Entomologie, v. 2, pt. 2, no. 1, p.720    Burmeister's original description of the genus (in German)
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.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. Knopf.
3.Simon & Schuster's Guide to Insects
Dr. Ross H. Arnett, Dr. Richard L. Jacques. 1981. Fireside.
4.California Insects
Jerry A. Powell, Charles L. Hogue. 1989. University of California Press.
5.How to Know the Grasshoppers, Cockroaches, and Their Allies
Jacques R. Helfer. 1962. Wm. C. Brown Company.
6.50 Common Insects of the Southwest
Carl E. Olson. 2004. Western National Parks Association.
7.Living With Insects of the Southwest: How to Identify Helpful, Harmful and Venomous Insects
Floyd G. Werner, Carl Olson. 1994. Perseus Publishing.