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Striped Ground Cricket

Striped Ground Cricket (Allonemobius fasciatus)

Occurrence

Widespread. Common to abundant in its preferred habitats.

Habitat

Grassy areas, mowed paths, wetland edges, almost any relatively open area that’s not too dry. This is not a woodland species and is also not typically found in drier upland or sandy habitats.

Range

All counties in our region.

Physical description

Although all of our ground crickets are small dark, the Striped and Allard’s Ground Crickets are the largest. They are easy to distinguish by song, but visual identification requires a very close look. Striped Ground Crickets have subtle, but apparent stripes on their heads, and the females seem to be a little larger than the Allard’s females.

Here's the female Striped Ground Cricket:

I periodically see long-winged Striped Ground Crickets. The long-winged individuals can fly, and this is why I've found them on - or even in - my car when I'm leaving a park at night. Here's a long-winged female that was on a moth lighting sheet at the Hiram Field Station and one that was on the hood of my car at North Chagrin Reservation. They flew to their destinations, which were much too high for them to jump.

Song

“Zit-zit-zit-zit.” There’s a little space between each song, unlike the rapid pace of the Allard’s Ground Cricket. While the most common song is very steady, there can be additional rhythmic patterns when in a confrontation with another male. They may also occasionally speed up or slow down their basic rhythmic song. They sing in the afternoon and at night.

Striped Ground cricket at 68F, then at 82F - Recording by Lisa Rainsong
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They can also abandon the regularity of their usual song pattern when interacting with other Striped Ground Crickets. I learned one rhythmic pattern that indicates a confrontation between two males (three short, then two long "zits"), and they can have other patterns for courtship. Here's a recording from the terrarium in which a male is utilizing different patterns.

Striped Ground Cricket interaction song - Recording by Lisa Rainsong
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Adult season

Mid-July through October or even into November closer to the lake shore if there hasn’t been a freeze.

 

General description and context

Although Striped Ground Crickets are abundant in damper areas and Allard’s Ground Crickets prefer drier habitats, they meet in the middle in grassy areas. Carolina Ground Crickets and Cuban Ground Crickets can be found with them as well. If it’s a wetland area, however, they will be the dominant ground cricket species.

Similar species

Striped Ground Crickets are a little larger than the other ground crickets, with Allard’s being the closest in size. You may be able to see the stripes on their heads if you can get a good look at one. However, all of the ground crickets look similar until you are very close to them (if they come out of hiding), so the songs are the best way to distinguish them. Listen for the zit-zit-zit pattern; there’s a bit of space between each “zit,” and the tempo is slow enough that you can imitate them.

Field observation

Listen for song variations that occur with interactions; you’ll likely hear them on occasion. The one I have regularly noticed with males in a confrontation has been “zit-zit-zit-ziiit-ziiit, zit-zit-zit-ziiit-ziiit! I recorded two males in a heated standoff and eventual fight, and when it was over, I just heard one. The other wasn’t deceased, but he certainly retreated.