28 August 2009

Gryllacrididae species B - Raspy Cricket

Click image to enlarge

Raspy Cricket - Gryllacrididae sp. B

This Raspy Cricket is much smaller than Gryllacrididae species A, the other common local species (http://esperancewildlife.blogspot.com/2009/08/gryllacrididae-species-raspy-cricket.html), being less than 2 cm (1/2") in length, but although smaller it has incredibly long antennae of around 6 times its head/body length. Why it should need them this long is to me a mystery. although I have watched them feeling into every crevice as they move slowly along when on the ground. Presumably if it encounters a lurking predator, it at least has a 6 body length start, which may explain why the antennae of some crickets are broken. However, the larger huntsmen spiders seem to catch a few.

Disregarding the size difference between this species and Gryllacrididae species A, there are other differences that a close look will reveal. The egg laying ovipositor of the females is the most obvious, being long and straight with species A, but shorter and curved with species B. Also the mating male of species A, grasps and grimly hangs onto the female's ovipositor, whereas species B hardly touches it. Maybe the additional weight of the larger species requires it to gain additional support.

This smaller cricket appears to be more secretive than the larger one and is usually only encountered during March/April when they are commonly seen and heard calling for mates, but rarely noticed at other times as is the larger Raspy Cricket.