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Jerusalem Cricket (Stenopelmatus fuscus)

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

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Image Credit: William R. taken at Old Cave Trail in AZ
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The Jerusalem Cricket is a type of North American camel cricket, humpback and sandy tracks included.

Updated: 11/11/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
This slow-moving, humpbacked insect is often mistaken for a spider. Six legs and only 2 eyes helps eliminate that as a possibility. As members of the Camel Cricket family, they sport a rounded back like the desert animal that is covered in alternating black and tan bands. The enormous, round head brown and a strong jaw is able to deliver a painful bite if mishandled. Their hind legs have 2 rows of spines and seem short for a cricket. They do not have wings, and walk so slowly that most people are comfortable approaching them.

Jerusalem Crickets are found under rocks or often walking along gravel in valleys, sandy banks, or on hillsides. This species prefers drier climes and loose, dusty 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 and related species have been found in California, but their range travels only 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 though there are many sightings in daylight.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Rounded insect body icon
Striped or banded insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Orthoptera
        Family: Stenopelmatidae
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          Genus: Stenopelmatus
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            Species: fuscus

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Stenopelmatus fuscus
Other Name(s): Potato Bug, Chaco, Ni?a de la Tierra, Woh-tzi-Neh, Devil's Baby,
Category: Grasshopper or Cricket
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 50mm (1.18" to 1.96")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; brown; amber; white; yellow; red
Descriptors: stripes; thick; round; hump; bump; back

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 30mm (1.2in) and 50mm (2.0in)
Lo: 30mm
Md: 40mm
Hi: 50mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Jerusalem Cricket may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Jerusalem Cricket. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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