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.
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.
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.
Contributed by Cotinis on 19 December, 2005 – 12:17pm
Additional contributions by Chuck Entz
Last updated 25 November, 2009 – 5:07pm
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