Fall Field Cricket
Fall Field Cricket female (left) and singing male (right)
Fall Field Cricket (Gryllus pennsylvanicus)
Common to abundant. More broadly distributed than the look-alike, sound-alike Spring Field Cricket.
Meadows, fields, parks, older urban areas with weedy lots and concrete parking lots. They are abundant along the edge of beaches.
Widespread throughout all counties in our region.
Large, dark brown to black cricket with a large, round head. Almost an inch in length, not including the female’s ovipositor.
A cheerful “chirp-chirp-chirp” that is relatively rhythmic but not as consistent as the chirps of the Snowy Tree Cricket. The song sounds identical to that of the Spring Field Cricket. They sing in the afternoon and at night.
Third week of July through September. They become less common as fall progresses, but a few will be heard in October.
General description and context
Fall Field Crickets overwinter as eggs, which is why they don't begin singing until the Spring Field Crickets have finished. Although they are significantly more substantial than ground crickets, they can still be difficult to find because they hide under vegetation and in all kinds of holes, cracks, and crevices. They are very adaptable and can be heard in urban areas, where they live in parking lots and around buildings.
The only similar species in our area at this time is the Spring Field Cricket, and they finish their season around mid-July before the Fall Field Crickets mature. Ground crickets are much smaller. The Japanese Burrowing Cricket is moving northward and will reach our area soon. We'll need to learn their songs when they arrive, and you can hear an example on the "Songs at Ground Level" page.
Educational program observation
People who don’t realize that the female’s ovipositor is not a “stinger” can be afraid of them. Reassure them that these lovely crickets are harmless!
Listening in Nature: ground crickets and field crickets:
Songs of Insects:
For information on the Japanese Burrowing Cricket, which is headed our way, see this Songs of Insects entry:
Singing Insects of North America: