Possible wheat cricket?
Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 11:36 PM
I was taught as a kid that a “koringkriek” (corn cricket) is the redish creature attached as per image 1.
I, however found the creature as per image 2 & 3 and when I asked friends and family, some of them was of the opinion that the latter is indeed a koringkriek.
Kindly advise which one of these, if any, is indeed a corn cricket and if not, what are they?
Kempton Park Gauteng

Unknown Orthopteran

Parktown Prawn

Hi Marsél,
Apparently our knowledge of world geography is quite lacking as we needed to first research where Gauteng is located. Now we know it is in South Africa. The identification requests may take a bit of time, and we want to post your images before we do any actual research as we need to leave for work shortly. We are hoping our readership (Hi there Karl) may be able to assist us on this. Both of your insects are Orthopterans, an insect order that contains grasshoppers and crickets, and in the
in the suborder Ensifera, the Long Horned Orthopterans with long antennae. Many Orthopterans have common names that include the word cricket, but they are not real crickets, like the North American Jerusalem Cricket. South Africa has some Wetas, also found in Australia and the closest relatives to the Jerusalem Crickets of the American Southwest in the family Stenopelmatidae, but we are not certain your examples are Wetas. They may also be ShieldBack Katydids in the subfamily Tettigoniinae. Some of these are also called crickets like the Mormon Cricket of Utah.

Unknown Orthopteran

Shieldback Katydid: Koringkriek

When we googled “koringkriek”, we found an image identical to your second image and the scientific name Eugaster longipes, except your example is male and the other female.

Update from Eric Eaton:
Hi, Daniel:
I believe that the first of the two images of South African orthopterans is a female “Parktown Prawn,” Libanasidus vittatus (Kirby), a member of the family Anostostomatidae (formerly part of the Stenopelmatidae). At the very least, the image must be in that genus (Libanasidus). They are apparently common in Johannesburg.
Your identification of the second image appears correct (it is a shield-backed katydid unrelated to the Parktown prawn).

Thank you so much for the prompt response.
My apology, I did not pay attention and thought that it was a local website, which would also explain my use of the Afrikaans word “koringkriek”
Afrikaans is one of our official languages and my mothertongue.
My apology for the confusion; at least something good came from it in that you now know more about South Africa.
Kind regards

No Problem Marsel,
Thanks to the World Wide Web, everything is local.

Update: Sun, Jan 11, 2009
Oh, the wacky world of South African Orthoptera! The first photo appears to be of a King Cricket (Libanasidus vittatus), most commonly referred to as the “Parktown Prawn”. Google any of those names and you will get lots of photos and reams of articles. I have included two links below. It is in the family Anostostomatidae, which also includes the Weta. This harmless creature seems to get an awful lot of bad press in South Africa, especially considering that it feeds mostly on slugs, snails and cutworms. The second photo looks like it is probably a Corn Cricket, but that name and Armoured Corn Cricket are associated with a number of scientific names (including Eugaster longipes, as you mentioned). I even found several sites claiming the scientific name Cantankerous fella; the photos looked close but I couldn’t verify the validity of that name to my satisfaction. The Field Guide to Insects of Southern Africa lists 4 species of Armoured Ground Crickets (family Bradyporidae) in 3 different genera, all with the common names corn cricket and koringkriek. I am inclined to go with Enyaliopsis sp. (link below – I couldn’t nail down a species). Regards.

Location: Africa

5 Responses to Two South African Orthopterans: a Parktown Prawn and a Shieldback Katydid

  1. Ucksmucks says:

    The exact name of the Bradyporidae is Enyaliopsis petersi.

  2. coreybaz says:

    Enyaliopsis petersi is in the subfamily Hetrodinae of the Tettigoniidae. The family Bradyporidae doesn’t occur in Southern Africa. There is a mistake in Picker et al.’s Field Guide to Insects of Southern Africa but the correct information can be found in the Orthoptera Species File Online http://www.tettigonia.com.

  3. CathyR says:

    It is true, Parktown Prawns are one of the colourful aspects of life in Joburg. But harmless they are not -> they can cause nightmares and strange behaviour. My mom was terrified of them and swore she could hear them klomping round the kitchen from the other side of the house. I had to flush them down my toilet as she was scared they would come back and bite her if she flushed them in hers. (??!!) I look slightly less unkindly on them since hearing the eat slugs and snails and are a delicacy for our noo-noo cute Hadeda Ibis, Bostrychia hagedash, who’s range in southern africa has spread in sync withe the building of school sports fields.

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