Subject: Large SoCal Cricket
Location: Ventura, California
March 18, 2013 1:48 pm
I saw this cricket on my way into the office at the local waste water plant where I work. I snapped a picture as his body was about an inch and half long and I immediately thought it was a Jerusalem Cricket which my wife is terrified of. I sent her the picture as a good morning jolt I took a look at the picture and realized that this guy looks nothing like a Jerusalem other than size but I have no idea what it might be. Any ideas? Sorry for the low res pic as it was taken with my cell phone.
Our initial thought was also Jerusalem Cricket, but like you, our initial impulse quickly turned to doubt. We did some research and we believe that this is actually a Camel Cricket in the Subfamily Ceuthophilinae, based on photos posted to BugGuide. It might be the Coast Sand-treader Cricket, Rhachocnemis validus, which according to BugGuide is found in: “Dunes near and along Pacific coast in California. Recorded from near Point Reyes to Santa Barbara.” This photo on BugGuide looks close, but the low resolution of your photo is obscuring some important anatomical details. The comments on that posting are interesting. Is your jobsite close to the dunes? Do you frequently terrorize your wife with photos?
Eric Eaton provides a lead
I’m not an expert on these. There is a scientist in southern California who is a specialist on Jersusalem Crickets and would probably recognize these as well. I know I’ve given you his name before, but it escapes me….David Weissman
Dave Weissman provides an identification
You have a Ceuthophilus species. There are some along the CA coast and in coastal sand dunes. The group needs revision. And thanks for trying to get me some more JCs and a few in those photos do look interesting. Do you have collection localities for them?