Field Cricket Survey Update

by Carl Strang

The familiar chirps of field crickets can be heard through the warm months, thanks to two different species with identical songs: the spring field cricket, which begins in May and continues into July, and the fall field cricket, which begins in mid-July and continues until severe frost ends its season. I have noticed that the two species do not always occur together, and in recent years have been surveying DuPage County to map the pattern.

Fall field cricket (female). The spring field cricket looks just like this; only their seasons separate them.

Fall field cricket (female). The spring field cricket looks just like this; only their seasons separate them.

Here is the recently updated map. Green circles represent places where both species occur, blue ones mark spring field cricket-only locations, and yellow indicate where I have heard fall field crickets but not the spring species.

Here is the recently updated map. Green circles represent places where both species occur, blue ones mark spring field cricket-only locations, and yellow indicate where I have heard fall field crickets but not the spring species.

Both kinds of crickets are well distributed in the county, and with only a few exceptions, fall field crickets are ubiquitous. Some of the blue circles represent fairly large areas, though, and at some point I will want to study them more closely. Before I do that, however, I will want to spot check at least some of the places where I heard only fall field crickets. My surveys have taken place in the evenings, but recently I read a study which indicated that while fall field crickets have their peak singing time in the evening, spring field crickets are more active in the morning. It may be necessary to repeat the entire spring field cricket survey. Until then, my hypothesis is that the rigors of overwintering as nymphs place a greater limit on where spring field crickets can live. Fall field crickets, more secure in their buried egg form during the cold season, have more habitat latitude.

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