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Friday, July 13, 2001

ANIMAL TRACKER

Cave cricket


* Japanese name:Madarakamadouma * Scientific name: Diestrammena japonica * Description: This is a type of cricket with a distinctive humpback, from which it takes its other English name, camel cricket. It is light brown with dark dappled markings. The hind legs are very long and broad. The antennae of cave crickets are longer than the body, which is 20-27 mm long. Unlike most other crickets, cave crickets make no sound. * Where to find them: In cool places, such as houses, caves, dead trees and under logs, from July to September. Once unique to Japan (it is found all over the country), cave crickets have now spread to North America. They sometimes aggregate in large numbers, and like to overwinter in houses. * Food: Small, dead insects and decaying plant matter. Crickets have chewing mouthparts. * Special features: Those legs. The femur is shaped like a chicken drumstick and is packed with muscle. Cave crickets have no wings, so can't fly, but their powerful legs allow them to jump out of danger. If you try to catch them, they will probably leap away. They might leap at you, though, which is a of way of startling a predator. However, they don't bite or sting and are harmless to humans.

Femur: This is the long leg segment that connects to the body. In humans the femur is the thigh bone, the heaviest bone in the body.


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