Tree crickets are found around the world, in a variety of colors, and live in trees, shrubs, bushes, plants and grasses. If you've ever been outdoors in summer or autumn, day or night, chances are that you have heard the loud and beautiful chirping or trilling songs of male tree crickets. There are 170 different species of tree crickets throughout the world; 21 species have been documented in the continental United States.
Male tree crickets raise their two front wings (forewings) in order to sing. The yellowish cavity visible in this photo is the 'honey pot.' Female tree crickets sip secretions from this gland during the mating process. (Shown: Forbes' tree cricket)
This is a female Davis' tree cricket (Oecanthus exclamationis). Her sleek silhouette and translucent green color give her an elegant appearance.
This male Western tree cricket (brown form) has just emerged from his exoskeleton. His wings are still drying. His shed exoskeleton is just in front of him. This image is rotated 90 degrees for easier viewing--the tree cricket was actually hanging onto the leaf. They slip out of their 'skin' with the aid of gravity. He's still pale from just emerging -- his color will darken slightly as he dries. He is one of several species that have a green and a brown form: O. californicus, O. varicornis and O. texensis.
This Black-horned vs Forbes' male is nibbling on Goldenrod blossoms. (These two species are very similar in appearance.)
A few examples of what you will find on this website:
Tree cricket eggs are 'oviposited' into plant stems or tree branches by adult females. These eggs develop over winter and hatch the following year - in late spring or early summer. Each species of tree cricket has their own preferences for ovipositing their eggs. Some make a single hole and lay several eggs side by side; others make a row of holes and lay a single egg in each hole. HOST STEMS
The eggs lie within the stems as they develop. Even in the harshest of winters in northern climates, these tiny little eggs manage to survive. Each species has minute differences in the appearance of their eggs - such as length, width, shape and cap.EGGS
These delicate little nymphs manage to free themselves from an egg casing imbedded in stems or branches. What they lack in musculature, they make up for in sheer determination. Some nymphs never manage to free themselves from the egg; some get caught in or on the opening.NYMPHS
Black markings on the first two segments of the antennae help in species identification for most tree crickets.SPECIES
Tree Crickets shed their exoskeleton five times between the nymph stage and adulthood. (Shown: Two-spotted tree cricket) MOLTING
Male tree crickets have paddle shaped wings which when opened have a heart-shaped appearance. (Wings of the male lay flat atop the abdomen, while wings of the female bend snugly around the sides of her body.) (Shown: Alexander's tree cricket) ANATOMY
Male tree crickets sing to attract females. Each species has a unique sound -- although it can be difficult to identify them by sound alone. Some have a continuous trill, some trill in short bursts and one makes rapid 'cricket-like' trills. They all raise their wings while singing....and their sound travels for long distances. (Shown: Four-spotted tree cricket) SINGING MALES
Males have an area on their upper back called 'metanotal glands.' They are sometimes called 'honey pots.' They secrete a liquid that entices the females, and which they feed upon. This results in the female being in perfect position for mating. (Shown: Forbes' tree cricket vs Black horned tree cricket) MATING
This female Two-Spotted Tree Cricket is ovipositing eggs into a 2-inch diameter branch of a crabapple tree. OVIPOSITION
Find additional information by clicking on the topics at the upper left of this page.
The female Davis' tree cricket in the photo above is now the subject of a children's book entitled Trixie the Tree Cricket.It
was written to as a tool for my mission to increase awareness of the
beauty and charm of tree crickets. It can be downloaded for only $2.00
at http://www. lulu.com
Another book was written for juveniles, young adults
or adults interested in entomology or tree crickets. It was published
through Outskirts and is printed as orders arrive. It is available for
sale from various outlets and can be searched online. Here is one