Cricket – The Wing-Singers
Crickets are jumping insects, related to grasshoppers. Although they have wings, most are not able to fly. There are about 2,400 species of cricket. Crickets are found throughout the world except for the polar regions. They live in fields, trees, and bushes. Crickets are 3 to 50 millimeters long. They are usually brown, black, or green. Most crickets have two pairs of wings which help them jump. Crickets also have long, thin antennas that they use to smell and touch. A cricket has six legs with tiny claws that help it run along on a tree limb or ceiling. Crickets have specialized hearing organs on their front legs, by which they are able to detect vibrations.
These insects are active during the day and night, depending on the species. They eat mostly plants, but some crickets eat only tiny insects.
Crickets make a chirping sound by rubbing their front wings together. They use chirps to communicate with each other. Only male crickets have music-making wings. In order to avoid confusion between different species, each cricket has its own distinct song, which varies not only in duration, but also in pitch.
Female crickets lay their eggs (up to 300 eggs) singly in the ground and in plant tissues. When the eggs hatch, a small nymph-like replica of the adult cricket emerges and immediately begins to feed.
Many people think that house crickets bring good luck. In Italy, North Africa and Japan, crickets are kept in cages, because people enjoy listening to their cheerful melodies!