western tree cricket
Oecanthus californicus Saussure 1874

brown male
brown male calling
pale male
pale male
pictipennis male
pictipennis male
pictipennis male

19 s of calling song [1.62MB]; male from Webb Co., Tex.; 24.0C. (WTL586-11c)
6 s of calling song [261KB]; same as above but truncated and downsampled.

Sound spectrogram of 2 s of calling at 24.0°C (from WTL586-11). Dominant frequency 3.9 kHz.
Click on spectrogram to hear graphed song.

Remarks: The crickets above that are labeled pictipennis are like those described by Morgan Hebard (1935) as the subspecies Oecanthus californicus pictipennis. The taxonomic status of these crickets is uncertain, but it seems likely that pictipennis will prove to be specifically distinct from californicus. This is because pictipennis does not conform to the usual concept of subspecies (geographic race). Individuals of the typical, all-dusky-green coloration occur in some of the same geographic areas as the pictipennis coloration. Tree crickets of the pictipennis coloration occur only on juniper and pinyon pine, where, as the pictures demonstrate, their coloration makes them less conspicuous.

Identification:  Length 14–18 mm.

Habitat:  Shrubby vegetation and low trees.

Season:  Late May to November in s. Arizona; August until frost in Oregon; one generation annually in most, if not all, of range.

Song at 25°C:  Continuous, musical trill at 57? p/s and 3.8? KHz.

Song data:  Excel worksheet and chart (from spectrographic analyses).

Similar species:  Texas tree cricket—except for differences in the calling song and distribution ???

Remarks:  Western tree crickets are quite diverse in pattern and coloration. More study may reveal host-specific species comparable to the pine and tamarack tree crickets in the nigricornis species group. For example, those collected on juniper are often distinctively but protectively colored.

More information:  genus Oecanthus, subfamily Oecanthinae.

References and Links:  Fulton 1926b; Walker 1962, 1967; Walker & Gurney 1967. Collins 2010-date.

Nomenclature:  OSF (Orthoptera Species File Online)