Thursday, November 06, 2008

Camel Cricket (Family Rhaphidophoridae)

Camel Cricket (Family Rhaphidophoridae)

If you've always want a lucky cricket but were afraid its chirping would keep you awake at night, then the camel criket is your solution.  It has neither wings nor can it chirp.  Jumping is the camel cricket's (aka cave cricket) forte.

The camel crickets are a moderately common group of insects. They are also known as cave crickets, a name descriptive of their natural habitat. Like all crickets, the camel crickets have very large hind legs and long antennae. They are brownish in color and humpbacked in appearance. They are wingless and up to one inch long.

As the name implies, cave crickets are found in caves. However, they live in other cool, damp situations such as in wells, rotten logs, stumps and hollow trees, and under damp leaves, stones, boards and logs.

Camel crickets are of little economic importance except as a nuisance in buildings and homes, especially basements. They are usually "accidental invaders" that wander in by mistake from adjacent areas. They generally do not reproduce indoors, except in situations that provide continuous dark, moist conditions. 

A PDF from Clemson University continues:

They do have chewing mouthparts, like other crickets, and can feed on many different kinds of animal products, plants, fabrics and even other insects. Though they are mostly considered just a nuisance
pest, they can cause some damage, especially if they occur in large numbers. Indoors, they can damage fine fabrics and houseplants. Outdoors, they can damage plants, fabrics on lawn furniture, and have even been reported feeding on clothing on a clothesline.

Camel crickets spend the winter as either immatures or adults. In the spring, females lay eggs in the soil and they hatch in a few weeks. In greenhouses and other warm locations, camel crickets may breed year round. Very little is known about the biology of this group of crickets.

Such is the fate of most insects having little economic importance to humans.

See also:  BugGuide Family Page