Video we took of the mystery bug on Sunday:

I found my little friend online and the following information comes directly from

Genus Stenopelmatus – Jerusalem Cricket

Is this a termite queen? - Stenopelmatus Jerusalem Cricket - Stenopelmatus Jerusalem Cricket - Stenopelmatus more of What Is This? - Stenopelmatus ID? - Stenopelmatus Stenopelmatus sp.  - Stenopelmatus Unknown Insect - Stenopelmatus Utah Mystery Bug - Stenopelmatus

Kingdom- Animalia (Animals)

Phylum- Arthropoda (Arthropods)

Class- Insecta (Insects)

Order- Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids)

Suborder- Ensifera (Long-horned Orthoptera)

Family- Stenopelmatidae (Jerusalem Crickets)

Genus- Stenopelmatus (Jerusalem Cricket)
Other Common Names
Woh-tzi-Neh (Navajo, variously translated as “old bald-headed man”, “skull insect”, or “bone-neck beetle”), Nina de la Tierra (Spanish, “child of the earth”), Potato Bug, Devil’s Baby.
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
First described in 1838 by Hermann Burmeister
Explanation of Names
Stenopalmatus is probably from Greek stenos (στενος)- “narrow, straight” + pelma (πελμα)- “sole (of the foot)”
Numbers lists 8 species of Stenopelmatus
Capinera (1) states the genus needs revision, with 14 species currently described in the family, but more than 60 North American species likely–most presumably in this genus.
21-69 mm
Wingless. Antennae long. Front of pronotum is wide, antennae widely separated at base, head is very large. Tibiae are robust with spines for digging, and tarsi have pads beneath. Hind femora do not extend beyond tip of abdomen in this family (1). (Note: this description applies to the whole family, but this is the most widespread genus in our area.)
The other North American genus in this family, Ammopelmatus, has, apparently, only two rare and local representatives.
Western United States, basically west of 100 west longitude–just reaching western Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas. Dark Jerusalem Cricket, S. fuscus is widespread, likely represents a species group (1).
Varied, under rocks, logs, but usually not sand dunes.
Predatory on other insects, also feeds on roots, decaying vegetation. Sometimes found eating potatoes.
Life Cycle
Live in burrows and under rocks, logs, may wander on surface at night. Adults, and sometimes nymphs, strike ground with abdomen to produce species-specific drumming patterns (1). Female makes depression in soil for masses of oval, white eggs. Female often devours mate. One generation per year. Life history based on Milne’s (2) description of that for Stenopelmatus fuscus.
Said to be able to deliver a strong bite, but also to make a good pet.
See Also
Ammopelmatus–species rare and local.
Print References
Capinera, pp. 216-217, plate 48 (1)
Milne, pp. 437-438, plate 247–S. fuscus (2)
Arnett and Jacques, #27–S. fuscus (3)
Powell and Hogue, pp. 70, 72, give several common names, plate 2e–S. fuscus (4)
Helfer, pp. 305-306, figs. 483, 484 (5)
Olson, #27 (6)
Werner and Olson, pp. 43-44 (7)
Internet References
SINA family page–photo of a Stenopelmatus
Handbuch der Entomologie, v. 2, pt. 2, no. 1, p.720 Burmeister’s original description of the genus (in German)
Works Cited
1. Field Guide To Grasshoppers, Katydids, And Crickets Of The United States
By John L. Capinera, Ralph D. Scott, Thomas J. Walker
2. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
By Lorus and Margery Milne
3. Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Insects
By Dr. Ross H. Arnett, Dr. Richard L. Jacques
4. California Insects
By Jerry A. Powell, Charles L. Hogue
5. How to Know the Grasshoppers, Cockroaches, and Their Allies
By Jacques R. Helfer
6. 50 Common Insects of the Southwest
By Carl E. Olson
7. Living With Insects of the Southwest: How to Identify Helpful, Harmful and Venomous Insects
By Floyd G. Werner, Carl Olson
Contributed by Cotinis on 19 December, 2005 – 12:17pm
Additional contributions by Chuck Entz
Last updated 25 November, 2009 – 5:07pm