What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Gryllacrididae

Overview

The largest family in the superfamily with 600 species world-wide (called wood crickets or leaf-rolling crickets).

Description

Most are fully winged but some are apterous or brachypterous. Fore coxa usually well armed. Fore tibia armed dorsally only distally; tibial auditory tympana absent. Tarsi greatly depressed, 1st segment with plantulae. Late instars and adults of both sexes are provided with a femoro-abdominal stridulatory apparatus which is used in time of stress. The mechanism may also be used in a sexual context but this has not yet been observed. Male distal abdominal segments in some species modified to form a 'scrotum' for testes. Ovipositor wide-ranging in shape and length.

Distribution

More than 20 genera have been recognised in the Australian fauna giving Australia a disproportionately rich fauna of these insects. Only Bothriogryllacris has been studied biologically. It has fully winged, burrowing species, which appear to be morphologically unmodified for their peculiar existence. They excavate burrows in the ground in arid Central Australia, line them with silk and provide the entrance with a cap of sand grains or a single stone, depending on the species. The cap is sewn tightly in place at dawn when the occupant returns from nocturnal foraging. Thus the cricket has a sealed chamber in which it avoids desiccation during the heat of the day. Food preferences for the family range from chiefly grass seeds in Bothriogryllacris to other arthropods in some Hadrogryllacris species. [Morton and Rentz 1983.]

  • forest cricket, 35mm

  • Gryllacris sp

  • Pararemus sp

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