Camel Crickets (Cave Crickets)

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Camel cricket (cave cricket)
Scientific Name
About 150 species in North America north of Mexico
Family
Rhaphidophoridae (cave or camel crickets) in the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, katydids, crickets)
Description

Camel crickets and cave crickets are odd-looking, hump-backed insects that are commonly found in caves, basements, cellars, and similar places. They are generally tan, reddish brown, or dark brown, but they may appear black in the dark environments where they are found. They have a hump-backed appearance, long antennae, and large hind legs. These crickets are wingless and lack the ability to fly or chirp. They can jump a surprisingly long distance.

Size

Length: to about 1 inch (not including appendages).

Where To Find
image of Camel Crickets Cave Crickets Distribution Map

Statewide.

Camel and cave crickets are associated with moist, cool habitats such as basements, caves, cellars, under logs, and so on. They may also be found in greenhouses. These crickets are almost entirely nocturnal, and their long antennae and other appendages allow them to feel their way in the dark.

Adults and nymphs feed on organic debris, insects, and other small arthropods.

Common. These are abundant crickets and may live in buildings. Because of their long legs and antennae, they are sometimes called "spider crickets." Their peculiar body shape has given them the common names "camel cricket" and "humpback cricket."

Life Cycle

Nymphs look like miniature versions of their parents. Inside buildings it is unlikely they will breed or reproduce, unless perfect conditions exist, such as proper darkness and moisture. If these crickets are infesting your basement, it could mean you have a moisture problem that should be addressed.

Although they commonly invade basements, these crickets are completely harmless and are of no economic importance. They are capable of becoming a nuisance in greenhouses and may occasionally have to be controlled with pesticides.

Camel crickets are food for many animals. They are capable of moving in and out of caves and can serve a key role in bringing organic materials, in the form of their bodies, into those nutrient-poor environments. Thus they help provide a basis for the food web inside caves.

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About Land Invertebrates in Missouri
Invertebrates are animals without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, and arthropods. Arthropods—invertebrates with “jointed legs” — are a group of invertebrates that includes crayfish, shrimp, millipedes, centipedes, mites, spiders, and insects. There may be as many as 10 million species of insects alive on earth today, and they probably constitute more than 90 percent all animal species.