Camel Crickets (Cave Crickets)
Family:Rhaphidophoridae (cave or camel crickets) in the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, katydids, crickets)
This group of crickets are generally reddish-brown but may appear black in the dark environments where they are found. They have a “humpbacked” appearance, long antennae and large hind legs. These crickets are wingless and lack the ability to fly.
Size:Length: to about 1 inch (not including appendages).
Habitat and conservation:They are associated with moist habitats such as basements, caves, cellars, under logs and similar places. They may also be found in greenhouses. These crickets are almost entirely nocturnal, and the long antennae and other appendages allow the insect to feel its way in the dark.
Foods:Adults and nymphs feed on organic debris, insects and other small arthropods.
Distribution in Missouri:Statewide.
Status: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.
Human connections:Although they commonly invade basements, these crickets are completely harmless and are of no economic importance. They are capable of becoming invasive in greenhouses and may occasionally have to be controlled with pesticides.
Ecosystem connections: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.