Potato Bug

Beetle? Not sure…
Location: Coastal San Diego, CA
March 27, 2011 3:06 pm
Dear bugman, thank you for helping us out. My 2 1/2 year old son found this bug when we were clearing a space to set up a vegetable garden in my back yard. It burrows in the dirt. Is at least an inch long. It is spring in San Diego. Any help would be appreciated – my 2 sons are very curious, and so am I!
Signature: Thank you for your help, a curious mom

Potato Bug

Dear curious mom,
You have encountered a real Southern California icon, the Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, a subterranean relative of crickets and grasshoppers from the order Orthoptera.  Potato Bugs are generally encountered during the winter months, often after the rains.

Thank you. Do you mean potato bug as in grey rolly polly?

We have never heard of a Roly Poly being called a Potato Bug, but that is the problem with using common names.  Roly Poly is another common name for Pillbugs or Wood Lice in the family Armadillidiidae while Potato Bugs are Orthopterans in the genus Stenopelmatus.

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