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Square-legged Camel Cricket (Tropidischia xanthostoma)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Square-legged Camel Cricket



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Image Credit: Isaac T. taken in the Red Buttes Wilderness, CA
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Thanks to its incredibly long spindly legs, the non-biting Square-legged Camel Cricket can easily be mistaken for a spider.



Updated: 08/23/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Square-legged Cricket Camels have normal-sized bodies but extraordinarily long legs. The shape of the legs, especially visible at the joints, is squared, not round like one might expect. These edges have small ridges or teeth that help accentuate the corners. When they walk, they resemble spiders, but it can also hop because it is a cricket. Square-legged Cricket Camels do not bite, nor do they sting. Females have a curved, spine-like ovipositor that is used to bury eggs. It is sometimes mistaken for a thick stinger, but it is harmless.

This species is a West Coast native that can be found near water or further inland. Its varied diet of insects, detritus, vegetation, fungi, and even feces make it easy to find a meal. Unfortunately, Square-legged Cricket Camels can ingest a nematode from deer mouse feces and spread it to healthy deer mice if eaten by one. These tiny worms affect the mouse's gut, making it sick. The nematodes are not a threat to humans, but their impact on mice can disrupt a food web that relies on healthy deer mice in order to flourish.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Fast insect icon
Harmless insect icon
Jumping insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Orthoptera
        Family: Raphidophoridae
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          Genus: Tropidischia
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            Species: xanthostoma
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Tropidischia xanthostoma
Category: Grasshopper or Cricket
Size (Adult; Length): 11mm to 20mm (0.43" to 0.78")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown
Descriptors: squared, angled, cubed, straight, edge, legs, long, jumping, fast, coastal, hopping, spider, harmless
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 11mm (0.4in) and 20mm (0.8in)
Lo: 11mm
Md: 15.5mm
Hi: 20mm
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
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Square-legged Camel 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 Square-legged Camel Cricket. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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