In many cultures, crickets are thought to bring good luck. It is also believed that crickets can tell the surrounding temperature.
Love it or hate it, but you can’t ignore it. It is not unusual to hear the loud chirping of crickets in the garden, any moment of silence and you’re bound to hear it. Crickets are leaping insects characterized by their chirping noise. They are part of the family Gryllidae which has approximately 900 species.
Crickets are a part of folklore and mythology in many cultures. In Brazil, the singing of crickets is believed to be a sign of impending rains. In Barbados, a cricket is not killed or evicted if it chirps inside a house, as it is believed that a loud cricket means money is coming in. In some cultures, a cricket announces death, thus it is killed if it chirps in a house. In some countries in Asia, crickets are believed to bring good luck, they are often kept in cages as house pets.
~ Crickets, also known as “true crickets”, have flattened bodies and long antennae on their head, these antennae are called feelers. Their overall appearance is somewhat similar to grasshoppers.
~ Length varies from 15mm to 26mm (1 inch). The common house cricket is not bigger than about ½ inch. The field cricket is on an average 1 inch in length.
~ Crickets are related to the grasshopper and katydid, but do not belong to the same family.
~ Crickets have good vision and excellent hearing ability. The compound eyes enable them to see in many different directions simultaneously.
~ Crickets have visible external wings, but most species do not fly.
~ Crickets are usually black in color but they are also found in red, brown and green color.
~ Their front wings vary in length, depending on the species, and cover the abdomen entirely or partially.
~ Young crickets resemble the adults, but do not have fully developed wings. Only after shedding the skin several times, the young ones develop new wings.
~ The primary diet of crickets include decaying plant material, fungi, and some seedling plants.
~ Some species of crickets are also known to eat their own dead and predate on other weak crickets when there are no other sources of food available.
~ Crickets survive in almost every type of environment, from grasslands, forests and bogs to seashores and marshes.
~ During the warm summer months they are mostly found in fields or under debris. Most species are nocturnal.
~ Crickets are found throughout the world. The black field crickets are the most common variety in the United States.
~ Only male crickets chirp, they mainly do so to attract a female mate. Male crickets make their chirping noise by rubbing their wings together. This sound creating action is termed as stridulation.
~ Male crickets chirp to attract females and repel other males, this is known as calling song and is very loud.
~ Male crickets also chirp when a female cricket is nearby, this is known as courting song.
~ After successfully mating, crickets chirp a copulatory song.
~ Cricket’s frequency of chirping varies according to temperature, the higher the temperature the higher the rate. It is also believed that one can calculate the exact temperature of the environment by counting the number of chirps.
Interesting Facts about Crickets
~ Crickets in the wild have a lifespan of less than a year.
~ Cricket’s ears are located on the knees of their front legs.
~ Crickets are popular as a live food source for pets, they are often dusted with a mineral supplement powder to ensure complete nutrition to the pet.
~ Crickets are also enjoyed by humans in Cambodia and Vietnam and are considered a delicacy.
~ Female crickets can lay up to 200 eggs at a time.
~ The most famous cricket characters in popular culture are Jiminy Cricket and Cri-kee from Disney movies Pinocchio and Mulan respectively.
~ Some species of crickets are known to bite humans, they have relatively powerful jaws.
~ Predators of crickets include the tortoise, salamander, frogs, lizards, and spiders.
Like all living organisms, crickets play an important role in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. They breakdown plant material, renewing soil minerals. They are also an important source of food for other animals. The negative impact that crickets have on the ecosystem include injuring seedlings, large number of crickets can be very destructive. Crops and gardens are grossly affected by black field crickets and of course, the chirping can be quite loud and irritating!