What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Large red ant-like bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Topanga State Park, LA county, USA
Date: 01/05/2019
Time: 01:54 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
This very large, red, ant-like insect crossed the trail right in front of us yesterday. We were hiking near Eagle Rock in Topanga State Park in Southern California (LA county).
The insect was about 3 inches long with a large round red head and a black and brown abdomen.
We photographed it (see attached), and looked online to try and identify it. Our search has not turned up anything.
Can you help us identify it?
Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Casual Hiker

Potato Bug

Dear Casual Hiker,
Commonly called a Potato Bug or a Jerusalem Cricket, this distinctive insect is a common southern California native that spends most of its life underground.  Fall and winter rains bring them to the surface so most sightings are made shortly after a good rain.

That’s it! Thank you so much!
François Baldassari
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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Topanga State Park, California

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