Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mormon Cricket

Anabrus simplex
Contrary to the name, Mormon Crickets are not actually true Crickets at all, they are Katydids. A major difference between Katydids and True Crickets is the antennae length. In Katydids they can be longer than the entire rest of the body!

The other part of this animal's name, "Mormon" comes from the devastation that Crickets inflicted on Mormon Settlers in Utah in the 1840s. If it weren't for the Seagulls that came and consumed the Crickets, the settlement may have failed. These little insects are quite the nuisance across their range, and can cause massive amounts of damage to crops like wheat and alfalfa.

Mormon Crickets can grow a couple of inches in length. They cannot fly, but they are still incredibly mobile. As adults they can travel up to a mile a day, and can move up to 50 miles in a single season!

Mormon Crickets continue to be pests due to their mobility, appetite, and ability to creature swarms that number into the millions. Though they are preyed upon by other animals, chemical baits and barriers are still needed to keep the insects in check. Massive infestations still occur; a 2003 Utah swarm was one of the worst in recent history.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Western North America
Size : Length 2in (5cm)
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Class : Insecta -- Order : Orthoptera
Family : Tettigoniidae -- Genus : Anabrus -- Species : A. simplex

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