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Aids to using SINA

Identification manual

Field Guide to Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets of the United States.
About the manual. Tips for using SINA to supplement the Field Guide's treatments of katydids and crickets. Listen to sample songs while you see their audio spectrograms.


Songs of Insects
This is an easy-to-use, beautiful website for learning about the common species of singing insects in the eastern United States. Its photographs are of professional quality as are its sound recordings and the displays of their audiospectrograms.

Comprehensive guide to scientific names of Orthoptera

Orthoptera Species File Online

OSFO differs from the other aids listed here in that it is of little direct value to the average user of SINA, yet is crucial to those users in an indirect way. This is because it keeps up with the scientific names of Orthoptera in ways made possible by digital computers and fast access to gigabyte data sets. When insect taxonomists speak of the names of species-level taxa, they often note that in spite of the popular belief that the names of species taxa are stable, for a variety of reasons scientific names often change. A major reason is that in zoological nomenclature, names of species are binomials, consisting of a genus name and a species name (e.g. Gryllus pennsylvanicus). During the first half of the 20th century all North American field crickets were considered to be so similar that they could not be separated into species (e.g., Rehn & Hebard 1915). Thus all were known as Gryllus assimilis, except that during this period they were sometimes (erroneously) thought to be more properly placed in Acheta, the genus of house crickets, which, for a time, made all North American field crickets become known as Acheta assimilis!

It was not until B. B. Fulton (1952) published his long term results of studying four populations of Gryllus occurring in North Carolina that entomologists could no longer justify placing all U.S. Gryllus in a single species. Fulton’s four North Carolina species soon became G. pennsylvanicus, firmus, fultoni, and rubens, and, by 2009, the number of SINA-recognized North American Gryllus had reached 18.

It is timely that Gryllus is used here as an example of nomenclatural changes resulting from assigning species to other than the original genus and to describing multiple new species within a genus. In September of 2019 David B. Weissman & David A. Gray will publish the results of a decades-long study of Gryllus north of Mexico that will approximately double the number of species and greatly increase what is known of the previously recognized species. OSFO will promptly include the new species and name changes in OSFO’s Gryllus pages.

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