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Jerusalem Cricket Lesson for Kids: Life Cycle & Facts

Instructor: Wendy McDougal

Wendy has taught high school Biology and has a master's degree in education.

The Jerusalem cricket is a large insect that has a unique and distinct look. What are some of its features, and what makes it different from the ordinary cricket? Keep reading to learn more.

An Insect With a Beat

Ever heard of an insect with rhythm? Lots of insects make noise, but not many are as melodic as the cricket! There is a particular species of cricket that serves as the drummer of the group: the Jerusalem cricket. This cricket doesn't ''chirp'' like the others, but makes a rhythmic drumming sound. In addition, some would say that it looks more like a rubber toy than an actual living creature. Join us to learn more about the unusual Jerusalem cricket.

Physical Characteristics of the Jerusalem Cricket

The Jerusalem cricket may sound like it comes from the Middle East because of its name, but it actually makes its home in the western U.S. and parts of Mexico. Like all insects, it has six legs, antennae and a segmented body. But while most crickets resemble their grasshopper cousins, the Jerusalem cricket is an entirely different animal.

The unusual Jerusalem cricket
Jerusalem cricket

The Jerusalem cricket is a large insect, averaging about two inches long. Some species can reach up to three inches! It is light reddish-brown in color, with thick legs and a plump, striped abdomen. Its smooth, round head is extremely large in proportion to the rest of the body. This large, bald head has led to many nicknames, including ''Niña de la Terra'' (Child of the Earth) and ''skull insect.'' Its plump body also makes it a juicy snack for predators.

An Alien Face

The large and distinct face of this cricket has unique features. Strong mouthparts called mandibles can be seen in the mouth area. Two dark, beady eyes peer out, giving it an almost alien-like face. Because of these physical features, the Jerusalem cricket has inspired both fear and superstition. Legend states that this insect has a venomous sting, and that a person will die if the Jerusalem cricket looks at them! Both are untrue, although it can give a painful bite if pestered.

The bald, beady-eyed head of the Jerusalem cricket
Jerusalem cricket

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