Field Cricket

Gryllus pennsylvanicus

Field Crickets are the crickets everyone sees and hears in late Summer and Fall. They grow up to an inch long, and are black and brown. They have large hind legs and two cerci (spiky things coming out of the back of their abdomens).

Female Field Crickets also have an ovipositor. An ovipositor is the longer spiky thing (about 3/4 inch) coming from the abdomen between the cerci.

Field Crickets live mostly in fields and forest edges.

Photo by Jeff Hahn, University of Minnesota Extension Service

Field Cricket eggs hatch in the Spring, usually May. Young crickets are called nymphs. Nymphs eat a lot and grow quickly. They will molt (shed their outer skin) eight or more times as they grow up. With each molt, the nymphs look more and more like an adult. Young nymphs basically look like a cricket with no wings.

Field Crickets eat plant material, especially seeds, small fruits, and living and dead insects. If they are really hungry, they will even eat each other!

Once Field Crickets are fully grown (about a month and a half after they are born) they will look for a mate. Male crickets "sing and dance" to attract females. The "song" is made by rubbing the front wings together. Females hear the song through tympanum (eardrums) on their front legs. Once a female approaches a male, he will do a move back and forth in a sort of courtship "dance."

James H. Robinson

After mating, female Field Crickets look for some damp soil to lay eggs. They inject their ovipositors, like a needle, deep into the soil. She will lay about 50 eggs at a time through her ovipositor. One female can lay over 400 eggs in her short life.

Field Crickets do not survive over the winter. Any adult crickets or nymphs will die when cold weather arrives. Eggs, however, overwinter. They will survive and hatch the following Spring.

Copyright, J. E. Lloyd, Singing Insects of North America, http://buzz.ifas.ufl.edu/

Field Crickets are most active at night. The songs of many males can be heard on Summer and Fall evenings. The song is usually a high trill played in threes. To hear the sound of a male Field Cricket, click the link below.

Field Crickets have many predators, including birds, frogs, toads, turtles, and other insects.

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Male Field Cricket
Sound
J.E. Lloyd, University of Florida
Cricket Anatomy Diagram
Link to Printable Page
EnchantedLearning.com

Relationships in Nature:

PREY/FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Smooth Crabgrass

American Toad

Poison Ivy

Lamb's Quarters

Wood Frog

Virginia Creeper

Differential Grasshopper

Least Shrew

Bracken Fern

Field Cricket

Northern Cardinal

Red Clover

English Plantain

Wild Turkey

Smooth Crabgrass

Switchgrass

Red-winged Blackbird

English Plantain

Common Ragweed

Eastern Yellow Jacket

Common Elderberry

Chicory

Five-lined Skink

Switchgrass

Eastern Box Turtle

Tussock Sedge

Red-tailed Hawk

Common Ragweed

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Chicory

Black Carpenter Ant

Bushy Aster

Copperhead

Wild Strawberry

Red-backed Salamander

Common Greenshield

Rabid Wolf Spider

British Soldiers

Northern Ringneck Snake

Red Fox

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Bluegill

Bald-faced Hornet

Relationship to Humans:

Field Crickets can be both a help and a pest to people. They help people by eating the seeds of a lot of pesky weeds, which would otherwise spread. Some of those plants include Crabgrass and Pigweed. They also eat other insect pests, such as grasshoppers and flea beetles.

Field Crickets can be a pest when they eat plants or seeds of plants that we want to keep around. They can be a particular nuisance when large amounts of them damage farmers' crops. Field Crickets also sometimes enter homes. They seek warmth in late Fall and early Winter. Once inside, they sometimes damage furniture, rugs, or clothing.

Many people enjoy the sounds of crickets chirping in the evenings.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Arthropod
CLASS
Insect
ORDER
Orthoptera
FAMILY
Gryllidae
GENUS
Gryllus
SPECIES
Gryllus pennsylvanicus

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