Subject: Is this a cricket or what???
Geographic location of the bug: South Central Idaho (Ketchum/Sun Valley)
Your letter to the bugman: Out for a hike on Proctor Mtn. and stepped over this big guy/gal. Never seen anything like this before…must’ve been about 3” long…
How you want your letter signed: Jo
This is a female Mormon Cricket and a few days ago we published a nice image of a male Mormon Cricket, part of a migratory swarm in Nevada. Here is a BugGuide image. According to BugGuide: “Though flightless, this species can form migratory swarms or ‘bands’ that travel on foot, eating almost anything (both plant and sometimes small animal) in their paths, and have been significantly destructive to rangeland and crops at times. Swarming occurs primarily in the Wyoming Basin, Colorado Plateaus, Great Basin, and Columbia Plateau. In the Sierras, Rockies, and other higher mountain areas, and on the northern Great Plains, individuals average smaller, are usually non-migratory, and coloring is commonly of lighter colors (often tan or green). Individuals in bands are most commonly of a deep brown, often nearly black color.” BugGuide also has this historical reference: “Common name refers to invasion of agricultural lands farmed by Mormon settlers in the Great Salt Lake Basin in the 19th century, especially an outbreak in 1848 (Hartley, 2011).” Mormon Crickets are actually flightless Shield-Backed Katydids rather than true Crickets.