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Publication #EENY067

Southeastern Field Cricket, Gryllus rubens Scudder (Insecta: Orthoptera: Gryllidae)1

T. J. Walker2

Introduction

The southeastern field cricket, Gryllus rubens Scudder, is the most commonly encountered field cricket in Florida. It is common in lawns, roadsides, and pastures. In most parts of the state, it is the only field cricket that trills rather than chirps.

For information on other Florida field and house crickets see: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures.

Distribution

The southeastern field cricket occurs throughout southeastern United States.

Figure 1. 

Distribution of southeastern field cricket in the United States.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Identification

The southeastern field cricket and the sand field cricket often occur together and are sometimes difficult to distinguish except by song. The easiest morphological means of telling the two apart is the color pattern on the forewings. For males, the number and spacing of the teeth in the stridulatory file is definitive.

In southern Florida, where southeastern and Jamaican field crickets co-occur, the color pattern of the head will separate the two.

In western Florida, where both southeastern and Texas field crickets occur, the only sure means of telling the two apart is by the pulse rate (=wingstroke rate) during the male's calling song. The southeastern field cricket has the slower song, with a pulse rate of less than 62 at 77 degrees F. If the two are singing at the same time and place, a trained ear can identify the males that are trilling at the slower pulse rate as southeastern field crickets

Figure 2. 

Long-winged, adult male southeastern field cricket, Gryllus rubens (Scudder).


Credit:

Paul M. Choate, University of Florida


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 3. 

Short-winged, adult female southeastern field cricket, Gryllus rubens (Scudder).


Credit:

Paul M. Choate, University of Florida


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Life Cycle

Adults are most abundant in spring and fall, but adults and middle-sized to large juveniles can be found throughout the year. Small nymphs do not survive the winters in north Florida, and eggs laid in early December may remain dormant until the following spring. In states to the north of Florida, middle-sized to large juveniles are the overwintering stages and there are two discrete generations with adults occurring in spring and again in late summer.

Habitat

This species occurs in lawns, pastures, and roadsides and is sometimes attracted to lights in numbers.

Song

The calling song (657Kb wav file) of the southeastern field cricket is a trill that is interrupted every second or so (graphs). Often the pulse sequence within the trill not quite uniform, because the wings occasionally pause momentarily during the silent opening stroke.

Selected References

Doherty, J. A., and J. D. Callos. 1991. Acoustic communication in the trilling field cricket, Gryllus rubens (Orthoptera: Gryllidae). Journal of Insect Behavior 4: 67-82.

Walker, T. J. 1986. Monitoring the flights of field crickets (Gryllus spp.) and a tachinid fly (Euphasiopteryx ochracea) in north Florida (USA). Florida Entomologist 69: 678-685

Walker, T. J. 1987. Wing dimorphism in Gryllus rubens (Orthoptera: Gryllidae). Annals of the Entomolgical Society of America 80: 547-560.

Walker, T. J. 1993. Phonotaxis in female Ormia ochracea (Diptera: Tachinidae), a parasitoid of field crickets. Journal of Insect Behavior 6: 389-410.

Walker, T. J. 1998. Trilling field crickets in a zone of overlap (Orthoptera: Gryllidae: Gryllus). Annals of the Entomollogical Society of America 91: 175-184.

Walker T. J. (2011). Southeastern field cricket, Gryllodes rubens Scudder 1902. Singing Insects of North America. http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/walker/Buzz/501a.htm (23 September 2011).

Zera, A. J., and M. A. Rankin. 1989. Wing dimorphism in Gryllus rubens: Genetic basis of morph determination and fertility differences between morphs. Oecologia 80: 249-255.

Footnotes

1.

This document is EENY-067, one of a series of Featured Creatures from the Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Published: January 1999. Reviewed: September 2011. This document is also available on Featured Creatures website at http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures. Please visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Additional information on these organisms, including many color photographs, is available at the Entomology and Nematology Department website at http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

T. J. Walker, professor, Entomology and Nematology Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.