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Camel Crickets

Camel crickets are named for their humpback appearance. We don’t often see these wingless insects, for they prefer dark, damp habitats such as under stones and logs, where we don’t often look. However, when there are extreme weather conditions, such as excessive rainfall or the extended periods of hot, dry weather which we have experienced this summer, camel crickets are attracted to damp cellars and crawl spaces, giving us an opportunity to admire their impressive legs. Often mistaken for spiders, camel crickets do have long legs, but only six, not eight, of them. Their two hind legs are obviously longer and stronger than the other four, and enable this cricket to jump three feet high, a skill they use for defense against predators. A local blog reader reports that three nights in a row (camel crickets are nocturnal), due to the force of its jump, a camel cricket tripped a small have-a-heart trap set in their cellar for mice. (Thanks to the Choukas for photo op.)

9 responses

  1. Thanks Mary, for all your posts, I wind up sharing all of them. Jon Batson

    September 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm

  2. Wow! Gorgeous!

    September 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm

  3. Al Stoops

    Back in the ’80’s I joined a caving (spelunking) club in Gainesville, Florida, for awhile. The biologists in the group called these “cave crickets” (or by the scientific name ceuthophilus), as they were commonly seen in caves.

    September 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    • Yes, I believe both camel and cave crickets belong in the same family, Rhaphidophoridae. They look very similar and both like it dark and damp.

      September 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm

  4. I live in MA part of New England and we have extreme weather both searingly hot at times, and terribly humid at times. And we have horrible spells of torrential down pours for days on end. — I’m relatively insect observant! — Can’t say I have ever seen one of these guys. — However, I look forward to the possibility! — I did see a praying Mantis a few days ago, that was a rare treat! — And we have tons of Katydids, and those flying grasshoppers things in the grass when you disturb it. Cats love that! — We also have one of those Puffball Fungi growing rather large out side near the deck! — Thanks again for your incredible observations and knowledge.

    September 21, 2012 at 3:02 pm

  5. Very nice image, Mary.

    September 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm

  6. Judy

    These are always along the wall to my walk in basement in summer. What do these crickets feed on, and do they “sing” like the usual black ones I see all the time? Idk much about crickets, except my frogs love eating them!

    September 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    • As far as I know, they do not “chirp” or make noise. Pheromones come into play with courtship, rather than calls.

      September 21, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    • Camel crickets feed on organic matter, mostly plants, I believe, but also insects. According to one exterminator, paper, cloth and clothing are fair game as well, but I can’t confirm that.

      September 21, 2012 at 9:59 pm

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