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Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 5:21 EDT

Cricket

Crickets, family Gryllidae (also known as “true crickets”), are insects related to grasshoppers and katydids (order Orthoptera). They have somewhat flattened bodies and long antennae. Crickets are known for the loud chirping noises they make by rubbing their wings together. Only male crickets sing as the male wings have ridges that act like a “comb and file” that produces a song that is species specific. Interestingly in 1970, Dr. William H. Cade discovered that the parasitic fly Ormia ochracea is also attracted to the song of the male and uses it to locate the male in order to deposit her young on him. It was the first example of a natural enemy that locates its host or prey using the mating signal. Since then many other species of crickets have been found to parasitized by the same fly around the world. The male has two type of songs a calling song and a courting song. The loud calling song attracts females and repels other males. The courting song is used when a female cricket is near and is a very quiet song. The females have a long needlelike egg-laying organ (ovipositor). There are about 900 species known worldwide. The cricket tends to be nocturnal and is often confused with grasshoppers which are a related insect and share some similar features like jumping hind legs and body structure.

Crickets are popular pets in Asia, especially China.

Cricket