by Carl Strang
The first field recording I made this year was at the Connor Prairie bioblitz near Indianapolis, of a mysterious cricket that sounded just like the familiar Say’s trig but was in a mesic prairie habitat and was singing too early in the season. Here is what it sounded like:
With much effort I caught one, and this clearly was no Say’s trig. I collected him.
It proved to be a spring trig, in the same genus but a distinct species, and in the process of being described by specialists. Until that happens, its label in the Singing Insects of North America website is Anaxipha species G.Say’s trig has a paler head, with a dark line descending diagonally from each compound eye.
Say’s trig is abundant throughout the Chicago region, in marshes, wet meadows and bottomland woods. So far I have found the spring trig fairly common in Fulton County, Indiana, at the southeast corner of the region, but it diminishes to rare individuals in northeast Illinois. Its preference is grassy prairies and mesic meadows.
The region’s third trig species is the handsome trig, a cricket that seems to prefer brush or thinly wooded edges close to wetlands.
Its song is distinct from the other two. Each pulse of its trill has, at least to my ear, a sharp clicking or percussive quality:
A comparison of sonographs shows this difference.
The narrow, sharp attack at the beginning of each pulse distinguishes the handsome trig’s song.