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Feeder Cricket Zoology

 
Feeder Cricket Classification
Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Arthropoda
Class
Insecta
Superorder
Exopterygota
Order
Orthoptera
Family
Gryllidae
 
Feeder Cricket Biology

Modern entomologists use the term Hexapoda (hex"sah-pod'ah - hexa meaning six) as a more inclusive class name. Hexapods (insects) are characterized by having three pairs of legs. Some have wings and the body is divided into a head, thorax and abdomen. Insecta is used as a more restricted term referring to hexapods whose mouthparts are more or less exposed. Crickets belong to the Superorder Exopterygota (eks-op-ter-i-go'tah) meaning they are hemimetabolous or have complete matabolism and to the Order Orthoptera (or-thopíter-ah) denoting long, narrow, leathery forewings, broad membranous hind wings and chewing mouthparts.

Basic feeder crickets identification features include:

  • Long segmented antennaes, often longer than the body
  • Two unsegmented cerci at the end of the abdomen
  • Hind legs are adapted for jumping
  • Forewings are adapted to produce chirping sounds & act as sound reflectors
  • Wings fold to form a box-like cover over the abdomen
  • Females have long, needle- or bladelike ovidepositors

Natural Environment
Crickets are mainly found under logs, bark, stones, cow-pats or in underground burrows. Some crickets climb up in higher areas and are found in trees or walls of houses. Crickets are commonly found in and around houses or beneath street-poles scavenging for food. They like to hide beneath rubble, under garbage bins or in cracks and holes in walls. Being nocturnal (night living), they spend most of their days hiding.

Feeder Cricket Life Cycle
Hatchling crickets, or nymphs, will start to grow and molt or shed their skin as they get bigger. Shedding or will take place several times during their life cycle. Metamorphosis is simple or incomplete (hemimetabola), meaning there is no significant change between the nymphs and the adults. Nymphs resemble adults except for having no wings and sex organs.

Molting & Exoskeletons
All insects, including crickets poses exoskeletons which consist of an inner, softer layer / membrane and an outer, harder layer. The outer membrane is also referred to as the skin. The exoskeleton supports the rest of the body and the internal organs. The exoskeleton consists of indigestible proteins and chitin which becomes very hard when it is dried out. When the exoskeleton is hard, it is rigid and cannot bend or expand. This obviously prevents insects from growing. For insects to be able to grow, they need to shed or molt to get rid of the outer hard layer of the exoskeleton wherafter the softer inner layer will expand according to the new body proportions. The inner, which becomes the outer layer, will then dry out and harden to become the new outer protective layer.

 
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