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Gryllus pennsylvanicus

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Title: Gryllus pennsylvanicus  
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Subject: Field cricket, Gryllus veletis, Gryllus
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gryllus pennsylvanicus

Gryllus pennsylvanicus
Binomial name
Gryllus pennsylvanicus
Burmeister, 1838 [1]
Synonyms [2]
  • G. abbreviatus Serville, 1838
  • G. angustus Scudder, 1863
  • G. arenaceus Blatchley, 1903
  • G. luctuosus Serville, 1838

Gryllus pennsylvanicus is one of many cricket species known as the field cricket. It occurs throughout eastern North America, including southern Canada.


Adults reach 15–25 millimetres (0.6–1.0 in) and the coloration ranges from dark black to dark brown, some specimens show a slight reddish tint.[3] The black antennae tend to be longer than the body span of the species. The cerci are longer than the head and prothorax, the wings do not extend past the cerci.[4] Young individuals can be confused for the smaller species of cricket (Nemobius fasciatus) because of the similar body shape and coloration.

Life cycle

Adults are mostly active during night when the males sing to attract females. Females will then lay their eggs by injecting their ovipositor into soil. A single female will lay around 50 eggs at a time and can lay well over 400 eggs in her life span. Eggs laid in the late summer and fall seasons will overwinter and hatch the following spring. There is one generation per year.

Recorded food plants of G. pennsylvanicus include smooth crabgrass (Digitaria ischaemum), lamb's quarters (Chenopodium album), English plantain (Plantago lanceolata), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) and chicory (Cichorium intybus). They also feed upon various types of seed which can make them both a pest and a biological help. Not only do they feed on plants but also small insects such as juvenile Differential grasshoppers (Melanoplus differentialis) and have been found to cannibalize their young.[5] Even though they are a sizable cricket for North America they are preyed upon by everything from hawks to hornets.

Range and habitat

File:Field cricket Gryllus pennsylvanicus.ogg G. pennsylvanicus can be found throughout southern Canada and most of the United States and even into parts of northern Mexico. It tends to be absent in most of the southwestern United States including southern California. Within its range this field cricket will burrow into soil in fields and forest edges.[6] Sometimes as winter approaches adults will find their way into houses where they will attempt to overwinter. Also, while not displayed on the distribution map, G. pennsylvanicus can be readily found in the southeastern United States, and is a common sight (and sound) as far as the Florida Keys.


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