North American Crickets

list of species keys home help
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field crickets
ground crickets
tree crickets
mole crickets
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bush crickets
scaly crickets
sword-tail crickets
ant crickets
Representative species of eight major groups of crickets known to occur in North America. A ninth
(Pentacentrinae) is represented in North America by a single species.
Key to major groups.
A quick way to find pages for cricket subfamilies, genera, and species is to jump to the checklist and look for links.
If a genus name lacks a link, the page for that genus is still under construction.

Cricket classifications

Taxonomists agree that crickets are a monophyletic group, that is, they constitute all the surviving descendents of a single ancestral species. However, taxonomists disagree as to where in the taxonomic hierarchy this group belongs and how it should be subdivided. For example, Vickery and Kevan (1985) put crickets in the suborder Gryllodea of the order Grylloptera, whereas we along with many others put them in the superfamily Grylloidea of the suborder Ensifera, order Orthoptera. In our scheme, the initial subdivisions are families, and we recognize only two: Gryllotalpidae, the mole crickets, and Gryllidae, all other crickets. We treat as subfamilies some cricket groups that others treat as families—namely, tree crickets, scaly crickets, ant crickets, and sword-tailed crickets. We do this because the evolutionary relations of the major groups of crickets are poorly understood, making it impossible to know what family classification will best reveal phylogeny. It is worth noting that Mogoplistinae (scaly crickets) and Myrmecophilinae (ant crickets) are generally considered to be sister groups as are Trigonidiinae (sword-tailed crickets) and Nemobiinae (ground crickets) (e.g., Gwynne 1995).


Alexander RD. 1962a. The role of behavioral study in cricket classification. Syst. Zool. 11: 53-72.

Alexander RD. 1962b. Evolutionary change in cricket acoustical communication. Evolution 16: 443-67.

Alexander RD. 1968. Life cycle origins, speciation, and related phenomena in crickets. Q. Rev. Biol. 43: 1-41.

Alexander RD, Otte D. 1967. The evolution of genitalia and mating behavior in crickets (Gryllidae) and other Orthoptera. Misc Publ Mus Zool, Univ Michigan, No. 133. 62 p.

Allard HA. 1930. The occurrence of the crickets Anaxipha pulicaria Burm. and Cycloptilum trigonipalpum (Rhen and Hebard) in the vicinity of the District of Columbia hitherto unreported here. Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 32: 144-146.

Blatchley WS. 1920. Orthoptera of northeastern America. Indianapolis, IN: Nature Publishing. 784 p. Pages 638-642 (introduction to crickets and keys to subfamilies). PDF files of Blatchley's treatments of the cricket subfamiles that he recognized are accessible on these SINA pages: Gryllotalpidae, Myrmecophilinae, Mogoplistinae, Nemobiinae, Gryllinae, Oecanthinae, Trigonidiinae, Eneopterinae. (The introductory pages to Blatchley's book are accessible on SINA's home page.)

Forrest TG. 1982. Acoustic communication and baffling behaviors of crickets. Fla. Entomol. 65: 33-44.

Forrest TG. 1991. Power output and efficiency of sound production by crickets. Behav. Ecol. 2: 327-338. [Scapteriscus spp.; Oecanthus spp., Anurogryllus arboreus]

Funk DH. 1989. The mating of tree crickets. Sci. Am. 261: 50-59. [Oecanthus latipennis, Neoxabea bipunctata, Orocharis saltator]

Hung YP, Prestwich KN. 2004. Is significant acoustic energy found in the audible and ultrasonic harmonics in cricket calling songs? Journal of Orthoptera Research 13(2): 231-238.

Masaki S, Kataoka M, Shirato K, Nakagahara M. 1987. Evolutionary differentiation of right and left tegmina in crickets. In: Baccetti BM, editor. Evolutionary biology of orthopteroid insects. Chichester: Ellis Horwood. p 347-357.

Masaki S, Shimizu T. 1995. Variability in wing form of crickets. Res Popul Ecol 37: 119-128.

Masaki S,Walker TJ. 1987. Cricket life cycles. Evol. Biol. 21: 349-423.

Otte D. 1992. Evolution of cricket songs. J. Orthop. Res. 1: 25-49.

Otte D. 1994. Orthoptera species file 1. Crickets (Grylloidea). Philadelphia: Orthopterists' Soc and Acad Nat Sci Phila. 120 p. (A web version of this, by D. Otte, D. C. Eades, and P. Naskrecki, is continually updated.)

Prestwich KN, Walker TJ. 1981. Energetics of singing in crickets: Effect of temperature in 3 trilling species (Orthoptera: Gryllidae). J. Comp. Physiol. B Biochem. Syst. Environ. Physiol. 143: 199-212. [Oecanthus celerinictus, O. quadripunctatus, Anurogryllus arboreus]

Toms RB. 1984. Directional calls and effects of turning behavior in crickets. J. Entomol. Soc. South. Afr. 47: 309-312. [Oecanthus spp., Xenogryllus sp.]

Walker TJ. 1972. Deciduous wings in crickets: a new basis for wing dimorphism. Psyche 79: 311-314. 

Walker TJ. 1987. Grylloidea (Ensifera): Gryllidae, Crickets. Pages 148-151 in F.W. Stehr, ed. Immature insects. Kendall/Hunt, Dubuque, Iowa.

Walker TJ, Carlysle TC. 1975. Structure of stridulatory file teeth in crickets: taxonomic and acoustic implications (Orthoptera: Gryllidae). Intern. J. Insect Morph. Embryol. 4: 151-158.

Walker TJ, Masaki S. 1989. Natural history of crickets. In: Huber F., Loher W, and Moore TE, eds. Cricket behavior and neurobiology. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y. p 1-43.

The table below indicates stages of completion of the pages for North American crickets.
yes = initial draft posted     inc = incomplete     no = not started
subfamily (or family) maps photos drawings songs text key refs
Gryllinae - field crickets yes yes yes yes inc yes yes
Gryllotalpidae - mole crickets yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Eneopterinae - bush crickets yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Mogoplistinae - scaly crickets yes yes yes yes no yes yes
Myrmecophilinae - ant crickets yes no yes -- no -- yes
Nemobiinae - ground crickets yes yes yes yes no yes yes
Oecanthinae - tree crickets yes yes yes yes no yes yes
Pentacentrinae - anomalous crickets yes -- yes -- yes -- yes
Trigonidiinae - sword-tail crickets yes yes yes inc no yes yes