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Mormon Cricket Pest Profile

mormon_cricket_02 mormon_cricket_01Common Name:
Mormon Cricket

Scientific Name:
Anabrus simplex

Order and Family:
Tettigoniidae, Long-horned Grasshoppers

Description:
1-2 3/8″ (25-60 mm). Dark brown to bluish black, sometimes with pale markings. Large pronotum extends backward, concealing female’s vestigial wings and almost covering male’s reduced wings. Ovipositor upcurved, swordlike, as long as body. Antennae as long as body.

Food:
Lupine, sagebrush, and many plants, including grains and vegetables.

Life Cycle:
Dark brown eggs are deposited below soil surface in midsummer. They turn gray, overwinter, and hatch in spring. Up to 100 nymphs emerge, maturing in about 60 days.

Habitat:
Open fields.

Range:
Missouri River to n. Arizona, west to se. California, north to Alberta.

Discussion:
This common cricket got its common name after thousands suddenly attacked the Mormon pioneers’ first crops in Utah in 1848. Fortunately, many California gulls arrived in time to devour the crickets and save the crops.

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