14 November 2010

Marissa and the cricket

Soon after we moved into our house in the early 1990s, crickets followed suit and took up residence in the basement. They were probably house crickets (Acheta domesticus). I actually enjoyed sharing my house with them, because I found their incessant chirps during their courtship season, whenever it was, rather enjoyable; it felt like the wild outdoors was right there with us in the house. Moreover, they did no apparent damage, but provided entertainment to the cats who would go after them, although I don't remember if they normally ate them.

Then about 10 years ago, and for reasons unknown to us, those crickets disappeared and another species took over the house.

The newcomers are a species of camel cricket (family Rhaphidophoridae). I couldn't care less about the species turnover if the newcomers also provided musical entertainment. But they don't. That may be because they do their mating outdoors and come indoors only to take advantage of the the milder climate and the free food offered on the floors. Still, we tolerate them and don't normally bother them.

Occasionally, they do provide a diversion for Marissa Cat.

This particular encounter took place a couple of nights ago. For a long time, Marissa watched the cricket move about in front of her. Finally, she made her move, but the cricket went behind the curtain. Marissa chased, but the cricket went under a bookcase and that was the end of it.

Chalk one up for the crickets.


John said...

I thought those camel crickets were cute, but when I posted one on my Flickr account, I got mostly negative reactions to it. I guess most people don't like having having them in the basement.


The one in the photo was in the library on the 1st floor.

Jason R said...

This is an exotic species?


Anonymous said...

Camel crickets have no wings and make no song. Their absurdly long legs give them an advantage I hadn't thought of until I saw it in action: They usually eat what they find where they find it, but in case of competition they can carry surprisingly large loads and jump away to more private dining.

Anonymous said...

There are also lots of native camel crickets - the genus Ceuthophilus occurs in animal burrows, leaflitter, and caves (often foraging outside of the caves at night). Other genera are more adapted to the cave environment - Hadenoecus subterraneus can commonly be seen in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky

Deniz Bevan said...

That's a large cricket! I like the photo :-)