This slow-moving, humpbacked insect is often taken for a spider until one counts the number of legs. They are very slow in spring during their mating season.
They are members of the Camel Cricket family, though they are not technically a cricket. The humpback is striped and the large head is round and dense. They do not have wings. Their hind legs have 2 rows of spines and seem short for a cricket. They are not aggressive, but can bite, painfully, if mistreated or mishandled.
They are found under rocks or on gravel in valleys or on hillsides, preferring drier climes and loose soil. The tracks they leave behind are unique, created by dragging their large abdomens across the fine particles of soil. They can make a scratching noise. Many new species have been found in California, but their range travels as far east as Nebraska.
Females often eat their mates. They lay their eggs in soil after making a shallow hole. Nymphs (juveniles) are equally slow-moving.
Adults and nymphs eat plant roots, other insects, decaying plant matter and potatoes. Sources say it is nocturnal.
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