Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Handsome Trig - Red-headed Bush Cricket

A male Handsome Trig

     One of the most attractive local crickets we have around is the aptly named Handsome Trig (Phyllopalpus pulchellus). The name "Trig" refers to the family of crickets, Trigonidiinae, or Winged Bush Crickets, with 6 species worldwide, but only one in North America. The "Handsome" part is obvious. The scientific Genus name refers to the over sized, leaf-shaped mouth palps. "Pulchellus" means "pretty" or "beautiful" which is very appropriate indeed. I like this much better than its other common name: Red-headed Bush Cricket.
     Whatever you call it, this small (7-9mm) cricket really stands out. Some think the color combination may be protective in that it may mimic toxic bombardier beetles or perhaps jumping spiders. They feed on vegetation and do tend to stay in bushes. The males, as in most crickets, sing (stridulate) using their wings. The females have an extra middle extension, the ovipositor, used to lay eggs. 

A female Red-headed Bush Cricket.

     This is the time of year to keep an eye out for these handsome red-headed bush crickets. If you're lucky, you'll be rewarded with seeing these neat little songsters before they jump away.


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