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Red-headed Bush Cricket (Phyllopalpus pulchellus)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Red-headed Bush Cricket

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Image Credit: Gabe B., taken in Delta, AL
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Three bright colors, a loud chirping call, and a pair of fighting 'fists' are hallmarks of the Red-headed Bush Cricket.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
A trio of colors on the Red-headed Bush Cricket makes up three different body part: the bright red head, a black body, and pale yellow legs. An assembly of these particular colors in one insect is unusual in the cricket world. Most crickets are brown or black, which makes them better able to blend into the thatch and grasses that they eat from. This species has a set of palps in front of the head, which look like a short set of antennae. These palps have bulges, or knobs at the end of them which makes them look like padded boxing gloves. What's more, the cricket displays pugilism by constantly moving them around when it is anxious or excited.

Females have a long curved spine that extends from the tip of the abdomen. This is an ovipositor; crickets do not have stingers. It is used to deposit eggs into the soil to better hide them from predators and bad weather. Males make high-pitched trills to females in the area. The trill is created by rubbing its wings together at the base. One wing has a set of plates called a 'file'; the other wing has a flat 'scraper' that runs along the plates to create the noise. The motion is similar to flipping pages in a book, or cards in a deck. In the eastern part of the continent, this sound is a familiar one in summertime. Red-headed Bush Crickets are active all spring and summer. They can be found in areas with tall grasses or bushes. Look and listen for them about one meter or three feet above ground level.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Orthoptera
        Family: Gryllidae
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          Genus: Phyllopalpus
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            Species: pulchellus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Phyllopalpus pulchellus
Other Name(s): Handsome Trig
Category: Grasshopper or Cricket
Size (Adult; Length): 7mm to 9mm (0.27" to 0.35")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: red; black; yellow
Descriptors: chirp; song; loud; tricolor; jumping; flying; knobs; bumps

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 7mm (0.3in) and 9mm (0.4in)
Lo: 7mm
Md: 8mm
Hi: 9mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Red-headed Bush 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 Red-headed Bush Cricket. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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