Identification Key to the Principal Families of Florida Heteroptera
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..............................HEMIPTERA Suborder HETEROPTERA True bugs
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Leaf-rolling crickets / Raspy crickets
Raspy cricket, any of a group of insects in the subfamily Gryllacridinae that possess features similar to both crickets & katydids but are distinguished by the raspy noise that they produce as a defense response.
Gryllacridids are robust, non-jumping crickets with stout, spiny legs. The exceptionally long antennae are rolled or curled around the body when the cricket is at rest.
Raspy crickets communicate by drumming their legs on their abdomens, by tapping their hind legs on plant stems, or by stomping their feet to produce vibration, which appears to play a role in courtship between males and females. When threatened, they send out alarm signals by using femoral-abdominal stridulation, in which the femur of a hind leg is rubbed across pegs on the abdomen. This produces the raspy noise for which they are named.
Raspy crickets, along with the leaf-rolling grasshoppers (or wingless crickets), make up the family Gryllacrididae. Raspy crickets are found primarily in the Southern Hemisphere, with the greatest number and diversity—more than 120 different species.
Raspy crickets are found in woodlands, grasslands, or wet forests. They typically remain in their nests during the day and forage for food at night. Raspy crickets appear to take advantage of whatever food is available to them, and their diet thus ranges from insects and other arthropods to plants and plant parts, including grasses, flowers, and seeds. On average, raspy crickets grow to a length of about 5cm, and they are usually gray to brown in colour, have long antennae, and are wingless.
Raspy crickets evolved the ability to produce silk independently from other insects, but their silk has many convergent features to silkworm silk, being made of long, repetitive proteins with an extended beta-sheet structure.