Seeking Confused Ground Crickets

by Carl Strang

Confused ground crickets are a fairly common species in DuPage County’s forests. Examples of places I have heard them are Waterfall Glen, Warrenville Grove and Fullersburg, representing historical forests along the Des Plaines and DuPage Rivers, and Salt Creek. Before last weekend I never had seen one, but their song is distinctive. Nevertheless, one of my goals this year was to get a photograph for my singing insects guide.  Last month I made my first effort at Warrenville Grove.

This is a typical interior forest scene at Warrenville Grove Forest Preserve.

Scattered males were singing in locations all around the woods.

Places thick with fallen leaves were the choice locations for confused ground cricket singing stations.

In the past I have had success with Carolina ground crickets by going to places where they were singing, and tossing bunches of leaves onto a sheet. It didn’t work this time, though. The confused ground crickets were scattered too thinly, and apparently don’t have the bunches of satellite males and females around them I find with Carolina ground crickets. Furthermore the confuseds were very sensitive to my approach, stopping their singing before I could creep close enough to pinpoint their locations.

Last weekend I tried again. This time I actually saw one, as a tiny black cricket with distinctive, snow-white palps poked its head out of the litter. I got the camera ready, or so I thought, lifted the leaf he was under, and took the photo.

I had neglected to make sure the camera was set so the flash would go.

You can see the cricket in the photo, but when you zoom in it’s too blurry to be of use. I’ll try again, but may not have time for another effort this year.


1 Comment

  1. September 23, 2011 at 6:19 am

    […] in sugar and black maples in the understories of the two forests. While attempting to photograph confused ground crickets at Warrenville Grove, I had noticed a high incidence of tent mines, produced by the micro moth Phyllonorycter […]

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