Fun Mormon Cricket Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Mormon Cricket Facts For Kids

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The Shield-Backed Katydid also called the Mormon Cricket, belongs to the Tettigoniidae family. The Binomial name of a Shield-Backed Katydid is Anabrus simplex (Haldeman, 1852). This insect got its common name after populations of thousands of Katydids unexpectedly assaulted the Mormon settlers' first crops in Utah in 1848.

Luckily, numerous California gulls showed up on schedule to eat up the crickets and save the plants and agriculture. California gulls came to the rescue! The Miracle Of The Gulls, the 1848 occasion of Utah, is regularly credited by Latter-day Saints ('Mormons') for saving the Mormon pioneers' second rendezvous in the Salt Lake Valley.

These migrating bands live all over western North America (lands filled with sagebrush and forbs) while their populations increase and decrease to a large extent in Washington, Montana and, Wyoming. Flightless, Shield-Backed Katydids feed on plants like small grains and horse feed. They move from pastures to crop fields during flare-up years.

Although it is a flightless insect, it is equipped to fly as many as two kilometers per day in its swarming stage. Mormon Cricket is a large insect that resembles the lifestyle of grasshoppers (with variable shading). The general skin tone is known to be dark brown, red, purple, or green. The 'shield' behind the head tends to have hued markings, while the mid-region may seem striped. On the other hand, females have a long ovipositor (egg-layer), which is not to be confused with a stinger. Both adults have long reception apparatuses and might also go through morphological changes set off by high populace densities, like those found in beetles.

During the migration hour, the migrating bands of Mormon Crickets travel extensively in search of food and shelter.

If you like reading this particular article, then you must also give a read to yellow jacket wasp and mud dauber wasp.


Fun Mormon Cricket Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Big sagebrush, budsage, fringed sagebrush

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

100 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.07-0.09 lb (34-41 g)

How long are they?

1.5-3 in (3-8 cm)

How tall are they?

1 in (4 cm)

What do they look like?

Black, brown, red, purple, or green

Skin Type


What were their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Open Fields


Western North America









Mormon Cricket Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Mormon Cricket?

These species are short-winged katydids type of Insects (common name, Anabrus simplex Haldeman).

What class of animal does a Mormon Cricket belong to?

A Mormon Cricket belongs to the Insecta class of animals.

How many Mormon Crickets are there in the world?

There are more than 100 species of Mormon Crickets in the world, but their population in the world is not officially recorded.

Where does Mormon Cricket live?

Mormon Cricket prefers living in open fields or grasslands where there is no human activity. Their place of choice is Washington, D.C.

What is a Mormon Cricket's habitat?

The Mormon Cricket's habitat is spread all over the west of North America, overwhelmed by sagebrush and forbs. Huge populations of this species live in the open sagebrush-grass of the Great Basin and the mountain ranges. The Shield-Backed Katydids travel in search of food and shelter, which can also be termed a short migration. In the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, small populations of these insects range from 6,500 feet in forest openings to over 11,000 feet in the high tundra. They also live in weather conditions similar to that of Montana and Wyoming.

Who do Mormon Crickets live with?

Mormon Crickets live in bands or groups called swarms, and they damage plants and crops.

How long does a Mormon Cricket live?

Mormon Cricket (Anabrus simplex) has an average lifespan of two to three months.

How do they reproduce?

This species mates during the early summer, where they gather around in rangeland around plants. The male adult attracts females by scratching their tegmina together to create a calling Mormon Cricket song. Once the female is attracted, the male either drops to the ground to meet her or hangs tight to move to him. The couple mates and then separates. The female lays her eggs by pushing her ovipositor (the egg layer) into the soil. Every adult female can lay more than 100 eggs (with singular eggs resembling a grain of rice with a dark purplish tone). The eggs hatch into nymphs during the spring season. The nymphs emerge from the ground and go through seven instars before reaching the adult stage, commonly taking 60 to 90 days. They can reproduce after 10-14 days of reaching adulthood.

What is their conservation status?

These species are tagged as Least Concern by the IUCN.

Mormon Cricket Fun Facts

What do Mormon Crickets look like?

The Columbia Basin in Washington State experienced high populaces of the Shield-Backed Katydid.

Adult Mormon Crickets have different shades of color, with the general tone ranging from dark brown to red or green. They look like big grasshoppers except for their darker tones. The shield behind the head has colorful markings, while the mid-region may seem, by all accounts, to be striped. Females have a long ovipositor (egg-layer). Both adults have long antennae.

How cute are they?

The Mormon Cricket is not that cute. People don't like creepy crawlies that emit an odor. Another reason for them not being a 'people's favorite' is that they damage agricultural crops.

How do they communicate?

The Mormon Cricket (Anabrus simplex) communicates predominantly by sound, fragrance, and contact. They cannot see well with their eyes. They tend to have chirp 'duels' once in a while to sound better for likely mates. Although a few crickets don't chirp or utilize fragrance when tracking down one another.

How big is a Mormon Cricket?

Plant-eater Mormon Crickets are usually 1.5-3 in (3-8 cm) long. Compared to the Common House Cricket, they are 83% bigger in length (field cricket is 1 inch in length).

How fast can Mormon Crickets move?

Mormon Crickets can travel about 1.25 miles (2 km) in one day, and these are probably the fastest moving bugs.

How much does a Mormon Cricket weigh?

Male and female Mormon Cricket differ in weight. While the males weigh up to 1.1 oz (34 g), the females tend to weigh up to 1.4 oz (41 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

For both female and male Mormon Cricket, Anabrus simplex is the species name. They do not have gender-specific terms.

What would you call a baby Mormon Cricket?

Baby Mormon Crickets are known as nymphs.

What do they eat?

These crickets feed on 400 species of plant; they segregate their food sources, favoring certain delicious forbs. Mormon Cricket frequently tends to feed on saltbush and types of sagebrush. They make sure they live in areas where there is an abundant food source for the entire swarm. And farms with many types of plants are usually their target. This causes heavy losses for owners, and it leaves their land with damaged plants and a bad smell.

Are they harmful?

Mormon Cricket (Anabrus simplex) are harmful types of creepy crawlies dwelling in the United States,  they damage the farmlands and crops of the country, causing heavy losses. They also sometimes destroy the grazing territories of the cattle animals.

A Mormon Cricket Swarm sight can be scary, especially if you grow crops for a living. A portion of the synthetic compounds (normally utilized in plantations) can kill these species. Bug sprays are best against more youthful nymphs. The best method to control Shield-Backed Katydid in the nymphal stages is by splashing or baiting egg incubating beds in zones around the plantation. Pest control chemical and insecticidal draws are utilized to control their population and the Mormon Cricket migration. They show up in some conventional Native American eating regimens. In 2003, western authorities in Utah, Idaho (Washington State University), and Nevada (Cooperative Extension) said that year's invasion may be the worst one they've come in contact with in all of history.

Would they make a good pet?

If you can tolerate the chirping sound and Mormon Crickets' odor, you can easily keep them as pets. The practice of maintaining crickets as pets started in China. People use to search Mormon Crickets and keep them for their 'songs' (stridulation).

Did you know...

Plant-eating Mormon Crickets tend to damage crops, and both the nymphal and the adults are responsible for odor emission. As a result, people are forced to use pest control chemicals to kill them.

Local American clans historically hunted and ate the (wingless long-horned Grasshoppers) Mormon Cricket as a staple food for protein.

Another fact that you must certainly know is that crickets are kept to make use of their songs and other entertainment purposes in East Asia. In China, they are kept for cricket fighting, and it is an active part of Chinese sports culture.

If crickets chirp in high volume in Barbados, it symbolizes that the house will be blessed with money.

The Mormon Cricket or the Katydid song is popular in Brazilian folklore.

Anabrus simplex is also preyed on by other insects. Adults and nymphs are preyed on by wasps, robber flies, and ground beetles. Few parasitoids also attack adults and nymphs like hairworms, flesh flies, and tachinids.

Why are they called Mormon Crickets?

The Katydid received its name from Mormon pilgrims in Utah.

How to get rid of Mormon Crickets?

The conditions which attract an adult Mormon Cricket are areas near trash dumps with bright lighting, cold and dark areas, damp house, wild bushes, unclean and filthy houses.

Pest control chemical and insecticidal draws and carbaryl bait(typically sold as 'Sevin Dust') are very useful, but sometimes overuse can damage your crop. Some orchardists adjoining rangeland also tend to use physical barriers or a biopesticide based on the fungus Nosema locustae.

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 io moth or brain coral.

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

Written By
Divya Raghav

Divya Raghav dons many hats, that of a writer, a community manager, and a strategist. She was born and raised in Bangalore. After completing her Bachelor’s in Commerce from Christ University, she is pursuing her MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. With diverse experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. She loves to bake, dance, and write content and is an avid animal lover.

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