These insects are spread around the entire world and they’re mostly known for their jumping and chirping capabilities.
However, there’s much more to them, which we’ll learn today as we list down all the types of crickets.
- True Crickets
- Scaly Crickets
- Spider Crickets
- Sword-tail & Wood Crickets
- Mole Crickets
- Ant Crickets
- Bush Crickets (Katydids)
- Mormon Crickets
- King Crickets
- Sand Crickets
- Cave Crickets
- Dune Crickets
- Pteroplistinae Crickets
1. True Crickets
Scientific name (family): Gryllidae
There is some confusion as to what ‘true crickets’ are. The American term for ‘bush crickets’ also refers to insects in the Trigonidiinae subfamily, although they actually belong to the Tettigoniidea infraorder.
True crickets belonging to the Gryllidae family are characterized by very long antennae (shaped like a whip). These tiny insects are distributed around the entire world (barring Antarctica), and some of them can grow as long as 2 inches.
Despite their tiny size, they’re capable of digging massive burrows (about 3 feet deep). They’re the type of cricket to sing first, usually in early spring, as soon as temperatures allow it.
2. Scaly Crickets
Scientific name (family): Mogoplistidae
There are 364 species of these crickets spread around the world, while they’re most common in tropical and subtropical environments, usually near water. In the United States, they’re mostly found in southern states.
Scaly crickets are easy to tell from other crickets by the scales on the abdomen, similar to the scales of butterflies and moths. The wings of these types of crickets in Texas are either small or there are no wings at all.
3. Spider Crickets
Scientific name (family): Phalangopsinae
The habitat of these crickets is limited to South America, Africa, and Australia, as they can only survive in subtropical and tropical habitats.
These spider crickets are not to be confused with another group of crickets with the same name, as they belong to the group of cave spiders.
Mostly nocturnal, this type of cricket in South America is found in rocky areas and forests, often gathering in large numbers (although that applies only to some species).
4. Sword-tail & Wood Crickets
Scientific name (family): Trigonidiidae
This family consists of two subfamilies – wood crickets and sword-tail crickets. Wood crickets are rarely longer than 0.6 inches and they’re thin in comparison to other cricket species.
They’re not nocturnal, unlike many other crickets, and are usually found in woodlands around the entire world.
Sword-tail crickets, on the other hand, are usually found in tropical areas, and they’re recognizable by their very long hind legs. Very little is known about this type of cricket.
5. Mole Crickets
Scientific name (family): Gryllotalpidae
Mole crickets have highly-developed digging forelimbs, which allows them to burrow into the ground.
That and their underdeveloped eyes are two similarities with actual moles, along with the fact that they spend a lot of time underground. Despite their burrowing capabilities, they’re great fliers.
They dig to find worms and escape from predators, but most importantly – lay their eggs and raise their young.
They’re mostly omnivores, feeding on worms, small insects, and some vegetation. Mole crickets are found in most of Europe, North Africa, South Asia, East Australia, and most of North and South America. These types of crickets in Florida are considered pests.
6. Ant Crickets
Scientific name (family): Myrmecophilidae
One of the very few types of crickets that don’t chirp, ant crickets are almost always found near ant mounds worldwide.
However, they’re not often seen, as they spend most of their time under the ground. These crickets aren’t only voiceless, but also wingless.
They mostly feed on the scraps brought into the mound by worker ants, which is why they’re sometimes called ‘ant-loving crickets’. They’re reminiscent of cockroaches because of the hard shell on their backs.
7. Bush Crickets (Katydids)
Scientific name (family): Tettigoniidae
Formerly known as long-horned grasshoppers, it is now clear that these insects are in fact crickets, not grasshoppers.
There are more than 8000 species of them spread around the entire world, particularly in tropical areas such as the Amazon (where there are over 2000 species of them).
They can grow up to 5.1 inches, while the smallest species are 0.2 inches long.
Bush crickets are very vocal, especially during the night. These types of worldwide crickets feed on both vegetation and other animals – some are even able to kill small snakes and lizards.
8. Mormon Crickets
Scientific name (genus): Anabrus
With only a handful of species in the genus, Anabrus simplex, the Mormon cricket, is the representative species of this genus.
They can grow up to 3 inches and they’re found in western North America. They’re named after Mormon settlers in Utah, as they are the first people to encounter them.
These types of crickets in Utah are considered a dangerous pest, as they often swarm a certain area, especially during their swarming phase. They’re even dangerous for traffic, as they distract drivers and create a slick road surface.
Birds, coyotes, rodents, and even a specific species of horsehair worm are used to control their populations.
9. King Crickets
Scientific name (family): Anostostomatidae
These large crickets are found in Africa, Australia, and South America. They’re capable of withstanding both excruciatingly hot and cold temperatures. Because of their adaptability, they’re found in various habitats.
King crickets are mostly nocturnal and most of them can’t fly (except for a few Australian species). They’re foragers, mostly feeding on leaves, fungi, and carcasses of dead animals.
Interestingly, a king cricket can kill and eat a funnel-web spider.
10. Sand Crickets
Scientific name (tribe): Stenopelmatini
Sand crickets are large insects, found in Central America and parts of the western United States.
This tribe is also known as Jerusalem crickets and potato bugs. They’ve developed strong legs and feet which enables them to dig beneath the ground and find plant matter on which they feed.
They’re loud singers and each species has a specific song they sing during mating.
Because of their size and their three pairs of legs, they’re often mistaken for spiders.
Even though they’re not carnivorous, these types of crickets in California have very powerful jaws that can deliver a strong, painful bite. The bite is often followed by a foul smell.
11. Cave Crickets
Scientific name (family): Rhaphidophoridae
Found around the entire world, these crickets live in caves, burrows, and similar underground environments. They’re recognizable by their very long legs and long antennae.
The antennae are crucial for navigation; since these crickets spend most of their time in darkness, they rely on their antennae to navigate by touch. While they can’t fly, they can jump to avoid predators.
Cave crickets are completely harmless to people, but they’re known to invade homes, especially basements.
12. Dune Crickets
Scientific name (family): Schizodactylidae
Only found in Africa and Asia, these predatory crickets feed on other insects and they usually live in sand dune systems, as well as burrows. Their antennae are longer than their bodies and they’re usually yellow in color.
Not only are these types of crickets in Asia carnivorous, but they’re also often cannibalistic, killing and eating younger nymphs.
If provided, they will eat meat and fish, but they’re unable of killing such large prey because their mandibles are made for killing insects.
13. Pteroplistinae Crickets
Scientific name (family): Pteroplistinae
Very little is known about this family of crickets.
For now, we only know that they’re found in tropical Asia, they’re omnivorous, but they eat vegetation for the most part, and they’re recognized by their featherlike wings.
Scientific name: Prophalangopsidae
These crickets are only found in North America (one genus) and Asia (four genera). In North America, they can be found from southwestern Canada, ranging down to northern California.
They’re usually located in forests, where they mostly feed on pollen, flowers, and small insects.
The females of these crickets are known to eat the wings of the male when they mate.
Aside from the few species endemic to tropic and subtropical climates, most crickets are found around the entire world (not including Antarctica). They’re largely omnivorous, feeding on vegetation and smaller insects, with a few species capable of killing small vertebrates.
These insects are often considered pests, and rightfully so because they’re demonstrated incredible vegetation-destroying abilities in areas where they’re not controlled.