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Carolina Ground Cricket

Carolina Ground Cricket (Eunemobius carolinus)

Occurrence

Abundant. Out most common ground cricket.

Habitat

Almost all habitats, and they are the only ground cricket that is common in the woods. Widespread in yards and garden beds. You may also hear or even see one in your garage and hear them singing under your porch.

Range

All counties in our region.

Physical description

Although all ground crickets are small and dark, Carolina Ground Crickets are a bit smaller and more slender than Allard’s and Striped Ground Crickets. Their legs are a little paler and their heads are a bit smaller as well.

Song

A wavering trill that sounds as if pressing down on an accelerator pedal while parked, than backing off, then accelerating again. When they begin singing, there is a short burst of song, then silence, then another short burst of song as if the cricket is warming up. Subsequent bursts become longer and more frequent until the continuous song begins. They sing primarily at night but occasionally in the late afternoon as fall progresses.

Carolina Ground Cricket's continuous song - Recording by Lisa Rainsong
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When they first start singing, they will do short warmup songs. Some even sound like little roars coming up from the grass.

Carolina Ground Cricket short warmup songs - Recording by Lisa Rainsong
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Their songs will get longer until they eventually move into the continuous song that seems to go on for hours.

Carolina Ground cricket moves into longer songs now - Recording by Lisa Rainsong
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Adult season

The second week of July (or a bit later if the summer has been cool) well into November unless there is a hard freeze.

General description and context

These crickets are impressively adaptable. I’ve heard them in sandy areas with Allard’s Ground Crickets, in wet edges of marshes with Striped Ground Crickets, and in almost any woodland area all by themselves. If you hear ground crickets in the woods, it will almost always be Carolina Ground Crickets.  

Similar species

Ground Crickets are much easier to distinguish by song than by sight, especially as ground crickets are extremely skilled at staying hidden. They're a little smaller and more slender in appearance than the Allard’s or Striped Ground Crickets and slightlyt larger than the Cuban Ground Cricket. Listen for their continuous song, which does not have the rhythmic patterns of these other three species. Refer back to the Songs at Ground Level page for a comparison

Indoor observation

I learned the details of their warm-up songs and the progression into the full song by observing Carolina Ground Crickets in terrariums indoors. This is also how I confirmed that this species truly can sing uninterrupted for hours. They were almost as difficult to observe in terrariums as outdoors, as they preferred to stay under leaves, stones, and bits of wood or bark. Although they may just seem to be small, dark, nondescript crickets from a distance, Carolinas are as subtly beautiful as other ground crickets when observed up close on those occasions when they permit it.

The only time I've actually observed one singing in his terrarium. They typically sing from hiding.