Genus Ammopelmatus - Jerusalem Cricket
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 Ammopelmatus (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
Formerly in Stenopalmatus
, all US species are now in Ammopelmatus
(Weissman et al., 2021
Explanation of Names
Stenopalmatus (former name) is probably from Greek stenos (στενος)- "narrow, straight" + pelma (πελμα)- "sole (of the foot)"
states the genus needs revision, with 14 species currently described in the family, but more than 60 North American species likely.
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)
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)
California; two of the species are rare and local (Endangered insects of CA
A. kelsoensis (Kelso Jerusalem Cricket): Kelso Dunes in the Mojave Desert
A. muwu (Point Conception Jerusalem Cricket): sw. Santa Barbara Co.
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. In captivity, species in our area will also take dog food. Species not from our area might not, however, and may be more strictly carnivorous.
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
The spermatophore provided by the male to the female may rub off easily if the female digs too much.
Said to be able to deliver a strong bite, but also to make a good terrarium pet.
Arnett and Jacques, #27--S. fuscus (3)
Burmeister, Handbuch der Entomologie, v. 2, pt. 2, no. 1, p.720
--original description of genus Stenopalmatus
Capinera, pp. 216-217, plate 48 (1)
Helfer, pp. 305-306, figs. 483, 484 (4)
Milne, pp. 437-438, plate 247--S. fuscus (2)
Powell and Hogue, pp. 70, 72, give several common names, plate 2e--S. fuscus (6)
Weissman, D. B., Vandergast, A. G., Song, H., Shin, S., Mckenna, D. D., & Ueshima, N. (2021). Generic relationships of New World Jerusalem crickets (Orthoptera: Stenopelmatoidea:Stenopelmatinae), including all known species of Stenopelmatus
. Zootaxa, 4917(1), 1–122. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4917.1.1
Werner and Olson, pp. 43-44 (7)
SINA family page
--photo of a Stenopelmatus