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Dark Jerusalem Cricket (Stenopelmatus nigrocapitatus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Dark Jerusalem Cricket.

 Updated: 2/27/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The humpback, huge head, and large body size create wonder and confusion when first glimpsing the Dark Jerusalem Cricket.



Dark Jerusalem Crickets are a slow-moving, wingless species of cricket common in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. They are rather large for a cricket and have a bulbous, round head. The most easily identifiable feature of this insect is its humpbacked abdomen featuring black and yellow bands. Thick hind legs have a whorl of fleshy 'toes' near the foot. This type of cricket has large jaws and can deliver a painful bite if mishandled, but it has also been kept as a 'pet'. Dark Jerusalem Crickets can be found hiding under logs and rocks, walking over sandy soil, and even inside homes.

The Dark Jerusalem Cricket has earned itself several playful nicknames including "Potato Bug" (not to be confused with the Potato Beetle which is also called that name), "Earth Baby", and "Nino de la Tierra" (meaning "Child of the Earth").

Mating season occurs in the spring. Females will dig a shallow hole in loose soil and lay her eggs. Nymphs look like small versions of the adult and are just as slow-moving. Their abdomens are large and heavy, often dragging on the ground while they walk, which leaves grooved tracks. This also produces a scratching noise, so sometimes the cricket is heard before it is seen. Adults and nymphs eat other insects, potatoes, roots of various plants, and decaying plant matter. They are active both day and night, searching for food.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Orthoptera
        Family: Stenopelmatidae
          Genus: Stenopelmatus
            Species: nigrocapitatus
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Stenopelmatus nigrocapitatus
Other Name(s): Earth Baby; Potato Bug; Nino de la Tierra / Child of the Earth, Chaco
Category: Grasshopper or Cricket
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 50mm (1.17in to 1.95in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; white; yellow; brown
Descriptors: humpback, bump, large, biting
Territorial Map
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.