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Insects and other arthropods

Crickets

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Description

Crickets are black or brown insects over 13 mm long. They have long antennae, two compound eyes and grinding mouthparts. They have two pairs of many-veined wings on the thorax. The forewings are fairly tough. They protect the membranous hindwings, which are folded in a fan shape when at rest. Of the three sets of legs, the hindmost legs are the most noticeable, since they are adapted for jumping. Their femurs are particularly strong. Crickets have two sensory appendages called cerci at the tip of the abdomen.

Females have an ovipositor, a long cylindrical egg-laying organ, between the cerci.

Life cycle

Adults mate following a courtship ritual. The male then emits a spermatophore, i.e. a droplet-shaped whitish gelatinous capsule that contains sperm. He deposits the capsule under the female’s genital opening. The female rips it open to release the sperm, which then make their way toward her reproductive organs.

A few days later, the female inserts her ovipositor in the soil and lays her eggs – about 100 of them over the space of a few days. After the eggs incubate, for different periods depending on the species and environmental conditions, they hatch into tiny crickets resembling wingless adults. They moult several times as they develop, growing in size and reaching adulthood, with complete wings and functional reproductive organs.

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