Stenopelmatus fuscus

Jersalem Cricket

Other names: sand cricket, niña de la tierra (child of the earth), chaco, stone cricket, and potato bug.

Description: This somewhat large insect measures about 1.5-3" and has a human-like head with large mandibles. It is amber in color with dark stripes on the abdomen, long antennae, and no wings. Their massive legs aide in burrowing in the ground.

Habitat/Domain: Mostly ground dwelling, under rocks and in the soil, they emerge at night in search of food. In the spring time they can be seen during the day looking for a mate. Jerusalem crickets are found all over the western United States from Canada to Mexico and as far east as Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and parts of Texas and Oklahoma.

Diet: Their diet consists mainly of insects. They also feed on plant roots, tubers (reason for being called potato bugs), decaying plant and animal material.

Life Cycle: Mating occurs during the daytime above ground in the spring time. The female uses her vulva to remove the white sperm sac from the male. Being cannibals the female will often devour the male after mating. White oval eggs are laid in masses, in what resemble a birds= nest, under the ground. The eggs hatch and by fall the insect has completed its development to an adult.

Other facts: Jerusalem crickets have powerful jaws, but do not have poison gland and therefore are not venomous. They are not aggressive unless otherwise provoked and can inflict a painful bite. Like their cricket counterparts Jerusalem crickets rub their spiny legs against their body to make a drumming sound. Control of these insects in unnecessary because they are rarely seen in large numbers.

This page was updated on April 26, 2014