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Pine Tree Cricket
Male Pine Tree Cricket. Yes, he's on a honeysuckle leaf directly underneath his pine.

Pine Tree Cricket (Oecanthus pini)

Occurrence

Common in pines.

Habitat

Usually in pines but occasionally found in a Norway Spruce or another evergreen.  

Range

All counties in our region.

Physical description

The wings are a little darker green than other tree cricket – more like the pine needles in which they live – and the head and legs are reddish brown, resembling the color of twigs.  

Song

A steady trill with just a hint of buzziness (a bit of “edge” to the sound).I find their songs to be very peaceful and enjoyable. They sing at night, although they may sing before sunset very late in the season.

Pine Tree Cricket 73F - Recording by Lisa Rainsong
00:00 / 00:00

Now that you've heard the song, let's listen to what happens when the temperature drops at night. The first part of this next recording was recorded at 70F, and the second half at 61F later at night. By that time, the Pine Tree Cricket was struggling to keep singing. There are visible spaces in the sonogram now because he just couldn't move his wings as fast at that temperature. After I stopped recording, he eventually sputtered a little, and finally just stopped. It had become to cold to continue.

Pine tree Cricket first at 70F, then at 61F - Recording by Lisa Rainsong
00:00 / 00:00

Adult season

Third week of July until frost.

General description and context

If I am surveying a park or preserve for crickets and katydids, I always check any pines that may be present. Invariably, Pine Tree Crickets will be singing there, particularly if there are several trees. I seldom see these beautiful crickets because they are far above eye level and blend perfectly with the twigs, branches and needles. When I do catch a glimpse of one, it may be walking along the twigs. I have seen them farther away from their trees on occasion, such as on a picnic table next to a nature center.

Similar species

Although there are other tree crickets whose songs are steady, continuous trills, only Pine Tree Crickets will be singing in pines.

Field observation

The first Pine Tree Cricket I was actually able to see and photograph was not on a pine, but on honeysuckle leaves directly underneath a pine tree. Why did he choose these leaves instead of staying in the pine? I don’t know, but sometime crickets will sing from a different tree or plant than those with which they are closely associated.

Songs of Insects

http://songsofinsects.com/crickets/pine-tree-cricket

Singing Insects of North America

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/Walker/buzz/587a.htm

Oecanthine.com (Tree Crickets)

http://www.oecanthinae.com/23143.html