Insects 0 Nowadays, more and more people try their hand at breeding crickets, may it be in order to feed a pet reptile… or just to eat it themselves. You heard well: crickets are close to common staple food in some parts of the world, such as Madagascar; you may even find cricket lollipops there!
January 14, iStock. Here are 11 surprising and often adorable facts about crickets. Crickets were named for the sounds they make. They don't make sound the way you think they do.
How do crickets chirp? Old-timey illustrators sidestepped this question by drawing them playing tiny violins. In fact, they sing with their wings. Crickets make sound in a similar way.
They rub a scraping organ on one wing against a comb-like organ on the other. Each cricket species has distinctive noise-making structures that produce unique sounds.
Scientists have even managed to recreate the sound of an extinct cricket relative, a fossilized Jurassic bush cricket katydid , by examining the shape of its wings. Most female crickets don't sing.
Most female crickets lack those sound-making wing structures. And males of some cricket species never make a peep. So why do male crickets usually chirp? Crickets sing out of love—and anger. You can use cricket songs as a thermometer.
Crickets call more frequently when the weather gets hotter. Some crickets have evolved to stay silent. Those maggots burrow into their victim and devour it from the inside.
Male crickets on Kauai have responded in a remarkable way. Those silent, safe crickets compensate for their lack of courtship songs by spending more time on the move [ PDF ], which improves their chances of running into potential mates. Crickets listen with their legs. Insects have ears in weird places.
Those cricket-eating parasitic flies, for example, have ears just below their head and neck. And cricket ears are tiny spots, just a fraction of a millimeter long, on their front legs just below the knees. There's a whole rainbow of crickets. But that somber insect has some pretty colorful relatives.
The snowy tree cricket is pastel green with wings shaped like tennis rackets. And if you visit the tropics, where there are more cricket species than anywhere else, you might spot this intricately patterned Nisitrus species. Crickets have rock star relatives. One group of cricket relatives is the mole crickets.
These insects have big claws and live underground.
To attract mates, they throw little rock concerts: They dig horn-shaped burrows, turning their homes into amplifiers that make their calls extra loud. Then there are the bush crickets, or katydids, which come in hot pink and other startling hues.
People love crickets. Insects often get a bad rap, but people of many cultures adore crickets. Chinese people have long kept these insects as good luck charms—and for cricket-on-cricket battles.
Crickets are beloved in Japan, especially for their musical songs. In Brazil, some species are considered to be signs of hope or incoming wealth though others are thought to be omens of illness and death.
Few other insects have received the cute Disney treatment. Crickets live in our homes. Many types of crickets will happily live in and around houses. House crickets , which are brownish and probably native to Asia, breed inside homes in many cities around the world.
Black-colored field crickets will accidentally wander into buildings. And one cricket relative, the greenhouse camel cricket, has been quietly invading residences in the eastern U. Fortunately, these household crickets are mostly harmless.
Crickets just might save the world. This superfood? You can now purchase these insects in a variety of forms that are mercifully free of twitching legs—including flour.
If westerners can overcome their squeamishness about eating insects, then crickets just may be the future of food. This story originally ran in