Imagine it…there are 900,000 different species of insects, with thousands of new ones being discovered every year! Crickets alone have 900 different species. The wonder of God’s creativity is shown in the wide variety of crickets and the marvelous way these little creatures work.
It’s late summer. Would you like to take a closer look at a cricket? I can see them running in the grass…they’re really tricky to catch sometimes, but…there, I caught one! I’ll hold it by the middle so you can see it. We can tell that this cricket is a male because he does not have an ovipositor, or egg-layer, on the back like the females have.
Now he’s trying to push off my finger with his big back legs. He can use those legs to make him jump up to 20 inches. If a four-foot tall person could do that, he or she could jump 80 feet! (Are you about four feet tall?)
Let’s look on the inside of his front legs. Can you see a little white spot? These are his ears. Wouldn’t it be funny if you had ears on your knees?
Crickets’ ears can only hear very high sounds. These sounds are so high, the crickets cannot even hear their own songs! We can hear the crickets chirping in their chorus of praises, but the sound that we like to hear is not the sound that the crickets hear. God was good to us when he made the crickets! The crickets cannot even hear the pretty song they make, but God knew we would enjoy it.
“So if a cricket can’t even hear the same song, what do they use their song for?” You might ask. The male crickets use their high-pitched song to find a mate. They do this by rubbing one wing on top of the other, much like rubbing the teeth of a comb with your fingernail.
Crickets always chirp with the same wing on the top. If you have the chance to watch a male cricket while he is chirping (maybe in the grass or in a jar), you can see if he is right-winged or left-winged. We can’t see which one ours is, because our cricket won’t chirp until he’s safe in the grass.
Each species of cricket has its own special song that helps them tell each other apart. That means that there are 900 different cricket songs!
By listening to the crickets’ song, scientists have found out a way to know what the temperature is. To get an estimate of the temperature in Fahrenheit, follow these directions:
1. First, count the number of chirps you hear in one minute. This is easier if you are only listening to one cricket.
2. Then, take that number and subtract 40.
3. Now divide that number by 4. Almost done!
4. Now add 50, and that will be the approximate temperature.
To find Celsius, use the Fahrenheit number, subtract 32, and divide by 2. Scientists based this formula on the chirping of the snow cricket, so don’t be disappointed if your answer and the real temperature aren’t exactly the same. You’ll probably be listening to a field cricket.
You will find that on cooler days, the crickets chirp slowly. On warmer days, the crickets chirp quickly. This is because crickets, like all other insects, are cold-blooded. This means that crickets will warm up and move faster if they are in a warm spot. They love to sing most on sunny days.
Take a good look at this cricket. He has a shiny body, wiggling legs and wiry antennae. Would you like to eat him? I wouldn’t, but in many parts of the world, such as Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia, crickets are eaten every day!
Crickets are high in protein, but I would rather eat a hamburger.
Actually, crickets would eat my hamburger, too. Crickets are omnivorous; they eat both plants and vegetables. In the wild, they feast on grass, rotten leaves, fruit, mushrooms, meat, and many other things. They are part of God’s “clean-up crew” for the earth because they help eat up dead plants and animals, just like ants, beetles, and other insects do.
Let’s take one last look at this cricket before we let him go. He is a field cricket. This kind of cricket is the one you usually hear on summer nights, making beautiful music.
Some other species of cricket are the camel cricket (also known as a cave cricket), mole cricket, house cricket, and Jerusalem cricket.
Camel crickets have three different names, including camel crickets, cave crickets and “sprickets”. The camel part comes from the funny way their back humps over, like a camel. “Cave” tells you where to find them. They often live in caves, although they can be found in wells, rotten logs, and other cool, damp places. “Sprickets” is a word meaning spiders and crickets. This is because a camel crickets’ long, spiny legs make it look like a spider.
Just how long are a camel cricket’s legs? An adult camel cricket’s jumping legs are an incredible 4 inches tall. When they’re scared, they use their massive legs to jump up at their enemy to scare it away. I hope I never have one jump at me!
Jumping is something that mole crickets don’t do often. Like moles, they live underground in tunnels. Their tunnels are specially dug in a cone shape, so when the male mole cricket chirps, the sound is amplified. It’s like talking through a megaphone.
God also equipped the mole cricket with a tool just right for his life underground… a pair of scissors! On the mole cricket’s front legs, which look like hands, there are sharp claws that he uses to cut through small roots. Although they are pests in the southeastern U.S., they are an amazing cricket.
Jerusalem crickets aren’t really crickets at all, they are insects that look more like termites. They are found mostly in hot, desert climates, like Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico. Because their heads resemble human heads, Jerusalem crickets are sometimes called “old bald-headed man” bugs. They also do not chirp. Instead, they beat their abdomen on the ground to make vibrations that the other crickets can feel.
Well, should we put this cricket back with his friends now? I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the wonderful way God made crickets. There are so many kinds, each with their own unique gifts. What a great and creative God we have!