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Friday, August 11, 2006

The Dangers of Hitchhiking

This tree cricket nymph, genus Oecanthus, came home with me from central California. Here she is on the tent bag that was left over night under some oak trees in the Santa Inez recreation area near Santa Barbara where I was camping. Included at no extra charge in the price of our space, her kinfolk sang all night long in the trees or the brush. She somehow got hooked up with my stuff, and thrown into my car for the drive to OC.

I set her on this rabbit's foot fern last night in an attempt to prolong her life; since there are none of her kind in my neighborhood if she survives she will not be able to mate. She has not moved away from that spot yet. It must be weird to be a young cricket far from home. I think I'll move her to my bonsai oak tree; maybe that wll feel more like home.

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Tree cricket update 8/13

Ok so the cricket did move around once put onto the oak tree, but maybe it really didn't make any difference and she was just getting ready to hop off onto the wisteria or something once she was good and ready to.
Anyway, this amazing website about crickets lists five species of genus Oecanthus (common tree crickets) that range into southern and central California. My memory of the chirping the other night puts the Santa Inez crickets into the continuous trill type, which would be the prairie (O. agentinus), the 4-spotted (O. quadripuntatus) and the western (O. californicus). According to Hogue, the western tree cricket is much more common. So I'm guessing this wayward nymph in my yard is one of those, just based on the odds. What type of tree crickets we've got here in OC (see comment regarding their apparent abundance!) I don't know since I've never seen them. The snowy cricket (O. fultoni) and Riley's (O. rileyi) are the two other species found in California, and they both have pulsed stridulations. Hogue says Riley's is the more common of these two. None of these crickets are said to be brown, although among the western there is considerable color variation noted. So, again, guessing it's the western.


Cindy said...

We have them here, except they're a very pale green. The honeysuckles are full of them.

Anonymous said...

how stupid

vanessa cardui said...

Thank you anonymous! Unqualified criticism is always fodder for soul-searching.