Black Field Cricket

Teleogryllus commodus

Other names: Yarrita pikiara

Family: Gryllidae

Order: Orthoptera

Description:

Black or dark brown.

Body - 3cm long, 1cm wide.

End section of leg (Tarsi) has 3 segments.

Antennae have over 30 segments.

Sings or make clicking sounds and stops when approached.

Makes horizontal tunnels up to 15cm deep.

Has wings but can't fly.

Chewing mouthparts.

Strong rear legs for jumping.

Front segment of thorax has a strong shield (pronotum).

Abdomen has 11 segments. Spiracles on segments 1 to 8.

Biology:

Life Cycle:

Hatches from an egg in early to mid summer to become a nymph (or miniature adult) that lives in cracks in the soil. Has several moults before reaching it final size by the end of summer. They feed on dry pasture or early germinating plants. The cold weather of winter kills them

Females insert eggs 1-2cm into the soil in autumn in grassy areas.

Habitats:

Origin and History:

Distribution:

Significance:

Teleogryllus may build up to large numbers and cause economic concern in drought years when it feeds on the already depleted grasses. On the cracking clay soils of western Victoria it has become a chronic pasture pest.

In Victoria, Yarrita has built up to numbers large enough to cause economic damage to pasture grasses on some occasions.

Management and Control:

In most years control is not economical. In drought years when feed is sparse and numbers tend to build up insecticide application is possible but usually requires destocking of the pasture for a period. Baits are also used. Early treatment prevents damage and the laying of eggs for next season's infestation.

Related Species:

Sandgropers, grass hoppers, locusts.

Similar Species:

References:

CSIRO. The Insects of Australia. Melbourne University Press. (1991) p384-385.

Victorian Department of Agriculture. Insect Bulletins. p5.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.