Crickets are a variety of insects with more than 900 species under the order Orthoptera. They are either brown or black, and they have four wings, with their front wings covering their hind wings when standing. Their antennae run almost the entire length of their body. They are omnivorous, eating mostly decaying fungi and plant material.
To avoid predators, crickets are primarily nocturnal and prefer dark spaces such as beneath rocks and inside logs. Different species of crickets are found all over the globe, with more than 120 species in the United States alone. They live in just about every conceivable biome, from swamp and marshlands to rain forests, mountains and deserts.
If crickets live in a climate that is too moist, a fungus can begin to spread over their bodies. They tend to lay their eggs in moist areas, but they cannot live there for long. In experiments, they prefer an environment with grass and soil over one with pebbles and sand.
Crickets thrive ideally at a temperature from 82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. They can live in climates with highs in the 70s, but their functions take longer, such as laying eggs and reproducing. At temperatures above 96, they start to die.
Male crickets sing to attract females as part of the courtship ritual. Studies have shown, though, that females tend to prefer the songs of younger males, which are distinguished by their higher volume and pitch.
- New Scientist; "Female Crickets Fall for Serenades of Younger Males"; Wendy Zukerman: 2011
- FOSS: Crickets
- University of Arizona: Cricket Information
- Ohio State University: Crickets' Preferred Environment
- Fluker Farms: Cricket
- University of Michigan: BioKIDS -- Kids' Inquiry of Diverse Species -- Crickets