Between allergic reactions to grass pollen, windy and/or stormy climate, and periodic melancholy, I’ve not been getting out within the discipline fairly often recently. Consequently, I used to be delighted when an uncommon insect got here to me. Leaving our lavatory for our bed room the opposite night time, I caught motion out of the nook of my eye. A small insect was working alongside the sting of the bath. My preliminary thought was “oh, shoot, a cockroach nymph.” Nearer examination revealed it to be one thing rather more thrilling and by no means a pest.
It was an grownup male Jap Ant Cricket, Myrmecophilus pergandei. The way it got here to be in our lavatory I do not know. This species, like others in its genus, is meant to be discovered nearly completely in affiliation with ants. Paradoxically, ants could take into account these diminutive crickets to be pests inside their colonies.
Myrmecophilus have been noticed actively “licking” ants, and the partitions of underground ant nests, presumably feeding on oily secretions from their hosts’ exoskeletons. The ants barely tolerate this undesirable consideration, and will assault and even kill and eat the crickets. Nonetheless, with their huge hind femora, the crickets are in a position to shortly vault away from hazard. I used to be stunned that I managed to efficiently usher this one right into a vial so I might take higher pictures within the casserole dish that’s our “studio” for insect and spider topics.
Ant crickets fluctuate in measurement, often in accordance with the host ant species, however none exceed 4.7 millimeters. The smallest grownup specimens recorded measured lower than 1.5 millimeters.The one imaged here’s a relative big. I believe it could have come from a nest of carpenter ants, of which we now have a number of round our residence, one satellite tv for pc nest within the body of our again door, not terribly removed from the outside wall of the lavatory.
Amongst their diversifications to life in subterranean ant colonies, ant crickets haven’t any ocelli (easy eyes), and their compound eyes are decreased to a small assortment of sides. What they lack in imaginative and prescient they make up for with lengthy, delicate antennae. Additionally they have outsized cerci, the pair of flared, tail-like appendages on the rear of the stomach. The cerci are lined in sensory hairs that, as in roaches, different crickets, and associated orthopterans, detect in any other case imperceptible air currents generated by approaching predators.
Jap Ant Cricket is discovered from Maryland south to Florida, and west to southern Iowa, japanese Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, however there are current data from New York and New England. There could also be different species the place you reside. Oregon Ant Cricket, Myrmecophilus oregonensis, ranges west of the Cascade Mountains from southern British Columbia via Oregon and Washington, and most of California. Mann’s Ant Cricket, M. manni, has an identical vary, however from southern Washington state via Oregon, California, most of Nevada, and Arizona. Nebraska Ant Cricket, M. nebrascensis, happens from southern California to Texas, and north via japanese Colorado, and most of Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
Sources: Capinera, John L., Ralph D. Scott, and Thomas J. Walker. 2004. Area Information to Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets of america. Ithaca, New York: Cornell College Press. 249 pp.