Mormon Cricket (Anabrus simplex)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Mormon Cricket.
Updated: 6/14/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The flightless Mormon Cricket can devastate food crops and threatened early western pioneers.
In 1848, this type of katydid nearly wiped out the crops planted by Mormon farmers trying to settle in Utah. They've been called Mormon Crickets ever since. They prefer grasses and sage brush, but will eat a variety of other plants, including wheat and corn. They can be seen at the openings of forests as well in crop fields. While this species eats plant matter, sometimes it resorts to cannibalism when plant food is scarce.
Adults chirp at regular intervals. Females have a curved ovipositor that looks like a tail, or stinger. It is neither. The ovipositor is a tube that pushes into the dirt, allowing females to deposit eggs just under the soil's surface. The eggs overwinter and small nymphs emerge in the spring, just when plants are starting to grow.