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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wait! It's a Jerusalem Cricket

While planting in the yard, I dug this up ....


male Jerusalem cricket has a smaller abdomen
The Jerusalem cricket (Stenopelmatus sp.) is also known as a potato bug or an earth baby, nino de la terra. It is not poisonous or dangerous in any way. It can pinch, but that's all. It lives in the soil and is active at night.

This large insect is an important decomposer. Just like earthworms, the Jerusalem cricket eats decaying leaf litter and turns it back into the soil. Don't be afraid of this big bug. She can't hop, doesn't see well, and just wants to get away from scary giant humans. Look for her thread-thin antennae that help her find her way.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I'm thankful for creatures like the Jerusalem cricket. I think she's beautiful. She has a job to do and she stands up for herself. 

Go J. cricket!

Planting CA Native Plants

More Earth Minutes with insects
Butterflies in Illinois
Night Sounds - Massacre Rocks State Park, ID
Graybird Grasshopper
Insect and Animal Close-ups

Spend a minute with the natural world each week 


  1. The first time I ever saw one of these was probably 50 years ago: I was awakened by an unfamiliar clicking sound around 3:00 a.m. Got up to investigate and found my cat in the corner of my bedroom, crouched protectively over what I took to be a space alien fetus. Scared the bejabbers out of me! As it began to crawl away I heard the clicking again, which seemed to be some part of its creepy anatomy tapping against my hardwood floor.

    Yes, I, too, am thankful at this magical time of year for Jerusalem crickets and their role in the great cycle of life. They should stay outdoors, though. xoxo