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short-tailed field cricket

Gryllus brevicaudus Weissman, Rentz, and Alexander 1980

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12 s of calling song, male from Jasper Ridge, San Mateo County, Calif., 27.0°C. Dominant frequency 5.1 kHz. Recording by D. B. Weissman (S92-44, R92-9); used by permission. Click on sound bar to hear entire recording.
10 s of calling, from San Benito County, California, 24.5°C. Dominant frequency 5.5 kHz. Recording by D.B. Weissman (S03-8, R03-8); used by permission. Click on sound bar to hear entire recording.
This sound spectrogram is a 2 s excerpt of the 10 s audio file accessible immediately above. The excerpt begins at 0 s. Click on sound bar to hear graphed song.
Song: Weissman et al. (1980) described the song as having 3 to 6 pulses per chirp and averaging 150 chirps per minute at 25°C.
Identification: G. brevicaudus has jet-black body and legs, hindwings shorter than forewings, and an ovipositor shorter to slightly longer than the hind femur. Tegmina have a yellow tinge on the lateral field near the base (Weissman et al. 1980). A key to the adult males of native US Gryllus is in Weissman and Gray (2019).
DNA: Closely related to G. insularis (Guadalupe Island, Baja Califonria). For more information about DNA testing, see Weissman and Gray (2019).
Similar species: Song is similar to G. veletisoides but these two species do not share microhabitat; and G. brevicaudus may be distinguished by longer cerci, a shorter ovipositor, and a yellow-orange tinge on the tegmina.
Range: Central California.
Habitat: Open grasslands. Gryllus brevicaudus can be found under rocks during the rainy season (winter and early spring), and in deep soil cracks during the dry season (late spring to autumn).
Life cycle: One generation per year, no egg diapause.
Season: Gryllus brevicaudus is the earliest singing Gryllus species in central California, starting in mid–winter. Their season ends in summer, but individuals may be heard up to late August. Weissman and Gray (2019) speculate that G. breviacaudus' habit of retreating into deep, cool soil cracks may help them to survive the heat of the summer. Possibly the nymphs have an obligate winter diapause.
Remarks: Though rarely collected, G. brevicaudus is one of the few species of Gryllus whose specimens from museum collections can be identified morphologically.

As early as 1980 David B. Weissman began publishing the results of his field and laboratory studies of the Gryllus of the United States and Canada (Weissman et al. 1980). By 2003, David Gray had started his cooperation with Weissman by providing genetic analysis of the living Gryllus made available by Weissman's studies (e.g., Weissman, Walker, and Gray 2009). Weissman and Gray's manuscript regarding the Gryllus of US and Canada was published in Zootaxa on 5 December 2019. [The manuscript will soon be made available.]
Name derivation: Latin: "brevi" = "short", "cauda" = "tail"; named so because G. brevicaudus has the shortest ovipositor of the known Gryllus.
More information:
subfamily Gryllinae, genus Gryllus
References: Weissman and Gray 2019
Nomenclature: OSF (Orthoptera Species File Online)
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