What Are Interesting Facts About Crickets?

Welcome to the wonderful world of crickets! Here you’ll find frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) about crickets, one of the most common insects, plus some unique and interesting cricket facts below.

Photo: Feans / Flickr
Photo: Feans / Flickr

Species Information

What is the scientific name and classification of crickets?
Crickets are insects that are part of the Gryllidae family (“true crickets”) and belong to the order Orthoptera. They are related to bush crickets and somewhat more loosely related to grasshoppers.

How many different types or species of crickets exist?
There are approximately 900 different species of crickets in the Gryllidae family. About one hundred of them can be found in the United States.

What are the primary characteristics of the cricket?
Gryllidae, or true crickets, have powerful hind legs, two pairs of wings, flattened bodies and antennae that can be as long or longer than their body.

How did crickets evolve?
Crickets diverged from other Orthopterans (like katydids and grasshoppers) in the Triassic period about 250–200 million years ago. They continued this divergence through the Triassic and Jurassic periods (~200–145 million years ago).

What does the cricket represent in various cultures?
In many parts of the world, particularly China, crickets are thought to bring good luck.

 

Naming

How did crickets get their name?
Cricket is derived from “creket” in Middle English which was originally came from “crequet” in Old French. It’s thought to be onomatopoeic, which means that the name resembles the sound my by these animals.

What is a group of crickets called?
A group of crickets is called an orchestra (which would seem to make sense!).

What is a baby cricket called?
A baby cricket is called a nymph.

What are male crickets called?
There is no specific name for a male cricket. They’re just called “male crickets.”

What are female crickets called?
There is no specific name for a female cricket. They’re just called “female crickets.”

Population

How many crickets exist in the world?
There are trillions of crickets that exist at any one time in the world.

Is the cricket endangered?
No, the cricket is not an endangered species since they are plentiful throughout the world.

Physical Characteristics

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

What do crickets look like?
Crickets have large hind legs, two pairs of wings, flattened bodies and antennae that can be as long or longer than their body. Crickets can be brown, black, green, or red in color.

How big are crickets?
Crickets are usually 1 to 2 inches long, depending on the particular species. The common house cricket is around a half-inch in length while the field cricket is about one inch in length.

How much do crickets weigh?
Crickets range in weight but adults usually average between 0.2 to 0.8 grams, depending on the species.

How do crickets maintain their body temperature?
Crickets are cold blooded and assume the temperature from their surroundings. They are much more active in warm environments than in cold environments.

How do crickets move?
Crickets move short distances by jumping. Although crickets have wings, they cannot fly.

How fast and far can crickets travel?
Crickets can jump up to 20 or 30 times their body length!

 

Habitat & Diet

Where are crickets found in the world?
Crickets are found all across the world except in cold regions at latitudes higher than around 55 degrees North and South. The largest diversity of crickets occurs in tropical regions. The black field crickets are the most common variety in the United States.

Where do crickets live?
Crickets usually live in logs founds within meadows, under rocks, along roadsides and in pastures. Most cricket species live on the ground, however some reside underground, in trees or within caves.

What do crickets eat?
Crickets are omnivores and primarily scavengers. They consume fungi, decaying plants and, on rare occasions, dead or injured crickets. Crickets use their antennae, called feelers, to help with the discovery of food and detect the movement of prey. Crickets are usually a welcome addition to gardens as they eat insects that destroy plants such as aphids and ants.

When are crickets most active?
Crickets are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and are most active during the night.

Reproduction & Lifespan

Photo: Federico Donati / Flickr
Photo: Federico Donati / Flickr

How long do crickets live?
Most crickets live between 30 and 90 days.

How do crickets mate and reproduce?
Crickets mate beginning in late spring and ending in early fall. The male perform a mating dance that can last from a few minutes to hours long and performs a unique mating chrip. Interestingly, the female cricket mounts the male cricket to receive the a sperm packet and may mate with several males before deciding which sperm from which male to accept. The female then lays her eggs in soil, one-at-a-time, or in small groups within plant material. She may lay anywhere from a dozen up to a couple hundred eggs. After about two weeks, baby crickets (nymphs) will emerge.

What are the characteristics of cricket babies?
When crickets are born, they look very much like adults, however, they do not have wings.

How do crickets care for their young?
Crickets lay eggs in large numbers, and when the eggs hatch, the young crickets are on their own to survive. However, certain species of crickets, like the burrowing cricket will care for its young for a few days after hatching.

Do crickets live in groups or alone?
For the most part, crickets are semi-solitary (or “subsocial”) insects. Unlike ants or bees, crickets tend to live mostly solitary lives and, in fact, will fight one another when in close quarters.

Predators & Defense

What are cricket predators (what animals eat crickets)?
The primary natural predators of the cricket are lizards, frogs, salamanders, spiders and tortoises. Increasingly, humans are also consuming crickets as they provide a nutritious and sustainable food source.

How do crickets protect themselves from predators?
Crickets generally don’t defend themselves, but instead avoid capture by hiding or quickly hopping away from predators.

Do crickets bite and are crickets dangerous to humans?
Some crickets do bite, but in the United States, it is very uncommon.  Crickets don’t delivery venom and are not know to carry diseases that could harm humans.

Intelligence & Communication

How intelligent are crickets?
Unlike bees or ants, which are arguably somewhat intelligent via social learning behaviours and adaptations, crickets are not considered to be particularly intelligent among insect species.

How do crickets communicate?
Crickets communicate by chirping and the chirps are species specific. Crickets use chirping to attract females or repel other males. The scientific name for cricket chirping is called “stridulation.” Crickets make this chirping sound by rubbing their wings together. One wing has a set of 50 to 300 “teeth” (like a comb) which is then rubbed against the upper hind edge of the other wing to produce the sound.

How do they hear the chirps?
They have a special auditory organ on their forelegs that allows them to detect these chirps.

 

Other Information and Interesting Facts About Crickets

  • Only male crickets chirp
  • Temperature can effect a cricket’s chirp – when it is warmer, for example, the chirp is generally quicker.
  • In the past, crickets were often held as pets in China and Japan. Chinese royalty kept crickets as pets in golden cages.
  • Crickets have compound eyes that are comprised of a multitude of lenses, resulting in excellent eyesight.
  • In many countries, such as Thailand, crickets are considered a delicacy. They are typically seasoned and cooked in wok until crispy.
  • Male crickets will defend their mates, even risking their own lives to protect a female carrying his eggs.
  • The most famous cricket characters in movies are Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio and Cri-kee from Mulan.
Photo: Jeff Christiansen / Flickr
Photo: Jeff Christiansen / Flickr

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