Common Ground Crickets

by Carl Strang

Ground crickets are the most difficult group of singing insects to photograph. I have spent hours seeking the various species, and still do not have photos of both genders of several species for the guide I have been developing for the Chicago area. Females are easier to find. For one thing, they wander more.

Females come out into the open sometimes as they travel in search of singing males or oviposition sites.

The acrobatic individual in the above photo is a Carolina ground cricket. I also held one in a jar briefly, but when I released her she escaped before I could get a sharp photo.

Of our common three ground cricket species, the Carolina female is distinguished by her short ovipositor, shorter than the femur length.

Of course, to some degree if you have seen one ground cricket you have seen them all. Here is a female striped ground cricket.

The longer ovipositor, subtle differences in body proportions, and especially the stripes on the head separate this one from the Carolina ground cricket.

The third common species is Allard’s ground cricket. Here is an earlier photo of a female.

There is head striping here as well, but sometimes it is obscure.

Fortunately for monitoring purposes, the male songs of these three species are easily distinguished. And after all, since they are going mainly by the songs themselves, there is little if any selective pressure for them to look different. Still, I want those photos. I still need one of a male Carolina, and that is my final field research goal for this season.

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