Saturday, November 7, 2009


After investigating the families of camel crickets a little further after that survey, I decided it was not so difficult to identify that it was worthy of an entry. Insects of the family Raphidophoridae are in the order Orthoptera (Crickets, Grasshoppers, Katydids), and are commonly called camel or cave crickets. They differ from other families of Orthoptera in that do not usually have wings, are hump-backed in appearance, and often live in caves, hollow trees, or other dark moist places. They have very long antennae, and most species belong to the genus Ceuthophilus.

Orthoptera; Ensifera; Rhaphidophoridae, Pristoceuthophilus sp.
Common Name: Camel Cricket

Information about this genus is rather sparse, with data from Washington, Oregon, and California. Other species include names such as P. arizonae, P. pacificus, and P. californiana, so they are somewhat widespread on the western coast of the US. This genus is relatively easy to distinguish from others, as the males have an obvious "crook" in their hind tibiae and a pronounced hind femoral tooth, both visible in one of the pictures above. The top image contains a female, and the bottom two images are of the same male. Also note the large spike coming from the apex of the female's abdomen - that is the ovipositor, with which she deposits her fertilized eggs.

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