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Fun Jerusalem Cricket Facts For Kids

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Jerusalem crickets are a group of flightless insects found in southwestern Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the western United States. The Jerusalem Cricket's scientific name is Ammopelmatus fuscus. The origin of the common name, Jerusalem Cricket, is not clear and is debatable. The several other names by which they are called are potato bug, skull insect, sand cricket, and stone cricket. It is called the potato bug because it is believed to eat potato tubers. In the Spanish language, the Jerusalem Cricket is called 'Niño de la Tierra,' which means 'Child of the Earth'. Jerusalem crickets eat tubers, plant decays, decayed vegetation, and be found under the rocks, logs, or sandbanks. The common predators that eat Jerusalem crickets are birds, coyotes, bats, skunks. Jerusalem crickets escape from their predators by dwelling into the soil or releasing some foul smell.

A Jerusalem cricket life cycle has three stages: eggs, nymph, and adult. The eggs take few weeks to hatch and form nymphs. The nymphs feed on plant decays and tubers as adults. Nymphs undergo a process called molting, during which they form new skin and leave the old one and gradually grow into adults.

If you find these facts on the Jerusalem cricket exciting, read on! You might also like our other articles on Yellow Jacket Wasp and Mud Dauber Wasp.

 

Fun Jerusalem Cricket Facts For Kids


What do they prey on?

Plant roots, insects, tubers, and decaying vegetation

What do they eat?

Plants and Meat

Average litter size?

Unknown

How much do they weigh?

0.5 oz (13 g)

How long are they?

1.2-2 in (30-50 mm)

How tall are they?

Unknown


What do they look like?

Tan, brown, yellow color

Skin Type

Shiny and striped

What were their main threats?

Foxes, Birds, Bats, Skunks, Coyotes, Badgers

What is their conservation status?

Vulnerable

Where you'll find them?

Grasslands, Shrublands, Oak Woodlands, Beneath Rocks And Logs

Locations

Central America, Mexico, Southwestern Canada, And Western United States

Kingdom

Animalia

Genus

Stenopelmatus

Class

Insecta

Family

Stenopelmatidae

Jerusalem Cricket Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Jerusalem Cricket?

The Jerusalem cricket is a flightless insect. The common name for this insect, Jerusalem cricket, is misleading since it is not an actual cricket. True crickets belong to the Gryllidae family, while these bugs belong to the Stenopelmatidae family.

What class of animal does a Jerusalem Cricket belong to?

Insecta is the class to which the Jerusalem cricket belongs.

How many Jerusalem Crickets are there in the world?

There are more than 100 species of Jerusalem crickets. We can see only a few bug varieties since they are active at night, early mornings, and late evenings.

Where does a Jerusalem Cricket live? 

The Jerusalem cricket lives from Nebraska to New Mexico, under rocks, slopes of valleys, or hillsides. They live north along the pacific coast to Washington and east to Montana.

What is a Jerusalem Cricket's habitat? 

The Jerusalem cricket's habitat is woodlands, grasslands, dunes, and you can commonly find them under rocks or plant decays on which they feed. Jerusalem crickets are very good at digging, and they spend most of their time underground and come out late in the evening, and are active at night.

Who do Jerusalem Crickets live with?

Jerusalem crickets can live on their own and sometimes can be found sharing their mounds with harvester ants.

How long does a Jerusalem Cricket live?

Egg, nymph, and adult are the three stages in the Jerusalem cricket's life cycle. Eggs hatch to form nymphs, and nymphs feed on the same food as adults and grow into adults. An adult Jerusalem cricket lives up to two to three years.

How do they reproduce?

The Jerusalem cricket reproduces by laying eggs. The female and male produce drumming sounds by hitting their abdomen against the ground and find their mate. The drumming patterns are different for different species. When females and males find each other, they roll towards each other. They face away from each other, and the male releases eggs into the female. It is believed that the mating will be successful when both the female and male are nearly the same size. After successful mating, the female Jerusalem cricket lays eggs in the chambers in the ground or in the loose soil. In some weeks, the nymphs hatch out of eggs, which eat the same food as adults. As nymphs eat food and mature to form adults, they lose their old skin and gain new skin. This process of changing skin is called molting. After each molt, the nymph becomes large and grows into an adult.

What is their conservation status?

Jerusalem crickets' Conservation status is Vulnerable but the number is gradually increasing. They are not considered a rare species.

Jerusalem Cricket Fun Facts

What do Jerusalem Crickets look like?

Jerusalem crickets are sometimes mistaken for spiders. Though they are called crickets, they neither look like a cricket nor a bug. The Jerusalem cricket has a shiny, striped body and a large round head that looks like a human's head. These insects have strong legs, which help them dig the soil. They have strong jaws, thick spiny legs, and a large antenna. Many people find it a scary insect and think it may be venomous. However, it is not a poisonous insect and can be made a good pet. You would need to take care while handling them though because they may give a painful bite if they are mishandled.

Know the fun facts of shiny striped Jerusalem cricket.

How cute are they?

People who like to keep insects find them to be very cute, and others may find them very gross.

How do they communicate?

Jerusalem crickets communicate by making drumming sounds that are produced when they hit their bodies against the ground. These insects communicate in this way to find their mate.

How big is a Jerusalem Cricket?

Jerusalem crickets grow up to 1.2-2 in (50-60 mm), and there are some large varieties that grow up to 3 in (7.6 cm).

How fast can Jerusalem Crickets move?

The Jerusalem cricket is a flightless insect and moves very slowly. You can easily catch this insect.

How much does a Jerusalem Cricket weigh?

Jerusalem crickets weigh nearly 0.5 oz (13 g) which is more than a tiny mouse.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Jerusalem cricket does not have any specific names for males and females; they are called male and female Jerusalem cricket.

What would you call a baby Jerusalem Cricket?

A baby Jerusalem cricket is called a nymph.

What do they eat?

Jerusalem crickets eat plant decays, tubers, potatoes, and other insects. Nymphs also eat the same food as adults. When they are kept in captivity, they eat potatoes, apples, prepared cricket food, and many more.

Are they harmful?

Due to their frightening appearance, you may think that they are harmful, but Jerusalem crickets are not at all dangerous and are not venomous. If these insects are mishandled, however, they may bite which can be quite painful.

Would they make a good pet?

The Jerusalem cricket can be a good pet for those who enjoy keeping insects. You can enjoy its movements when kept in captivity, which replicates that in its natural habitat. When they are made pets, proper care has to be taken regarding their diet.

Did you know...

Female Jerusalem crickets eat the male Jerusalem cricket after the mating process.

Many people think that this insect may sting and may be venomous due to its scary-looking appearance. However, these insects are friendly, and they may only produce painful bites when they are irritated. If a Jerusalem cricket bites you, it causes pain and may leave a bleeding cut, and some observations say that it may cause a rash or itch on the skin.

There are hundreds of different types of these bugs, but only a handful are visible because they are active at night.

To protect itself from predators, the Jerusalem Cricket does not scream but instead creates a hissing sound. It also emits a nasty odor to frighten away its enemies.

Why are they called Jerusalem Crickets?

The name's origin, Jerusalem cricket, is not clear and is also debatable. Despite the name, they are not even native to Jerusalem. There are other explanations that in the 19th century, the word 'Jerusalem' was used to exclaim surprise and displeasure. So, anyone who happens to see this scary-looking insect is sure to get startled and the name stuck.

How to get rid of Jerusalem Crickets?

If you see a Jerusalem cricket in your house, there is nothing to worry about. You can catch it on some paper and set it free into nature. Since it is a slow-moving bug, you can easily catch it. It is not advisable to hold it with your hands because if these insects are mishandled, they may bite. The Jerusalem cricket bite is not harmful but sure is painful.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including giant African millipede, or atlas beetle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Jerusalem Cricket coloring pages.

Author
Written By
Sridevi Tolety

Sridevi's passion for writing has allowed her to explore different writing domains, and she has written various articles on kids, families, animals, celebrities, technology, and marketing domains. She has done her Masters in Clinical Research from Manipal University and PG Diploma in Journalism From Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. She has written numerous articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories, which have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. She is fluent in four languages and likes to spend her spare time with family and friends. She loves to read, travel, cook, paint, and listen to music.

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