Saturday, September 5, 2009

Black-Horned Tree Cricket

This gorgeous tree cricket is the Black-Horned Tree Cricket (Oecanthus nigricornis), they get their name from their black or blackish colored antennae. Found in grassy areas, throughout the North Eastern United States from Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri to Maine. There is also an established population in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee. Although their name "Tree Cricket" would suggest that they perch in trees, that is not the case with this species, they will be found from 1 to 4 feet above the ground clinging to grasses and weeds. Preferred flowers or weeds seem to be thistles, and goldenrod. These are strikingly beautiful crickets, with their black antennae, heads, thorax, and legs. Some specimens will have more black than others. White eyes and greenish-white wings give these little guys a "dressed to impress" persona. 
Males begin to sing for mates in August, and mating will occur from August through October. The female will lay eggs in the soil and the young hatch the following June. When the young nymphs hatch they look very similar to their adult counterparts, with exception of no wings, and being lighter in color. Adults and young both feed on a wide variety of grasses and weedy plants.Remember as with all crickets, katydids and the like they have their own individual song that they use to attract mates, if you learn the songs, it is possible to locate these little guys in the grasses where they hide. Click here to listen o their song.

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