Orthoptera of North Carolina
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View Gryllidae Members: NC Records

Gryllus rubens Scudder, 1902 - Southeastern Field Cricket


Taxonomy
Family: Gryllidae Subfamily: Gryllinae Tribe: GrylliniSynonym: Acheta rubens                                                                                 
Comments: One of eighteen species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Walker, 2017), six of which have been recorded in North Carolina.
Species Status: Recognized as a distinct form -- the Triller -- by Fulton (1952), who also recognized three other, reproductively isolated forms of what he considered to be a single species, Gryllus assimilus. All differ in habitats, morphologies, phenologies, and songs, and were ultimately described as separate species by Alexander (1957). In the case of rubens, Alexander found that they are a morphological match to a species (Achaeta rubens) that Scudder originally described in 1902 on the basis of a single female collected in Alabama.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Capinera et al. (2004, illustrated); Elliot and Hershberger (2006)Online Photographs: SINA; BugGuide; Songs of InsectsTechnical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Scudder (1902); Alexander (1957)SINA 482a.htm                                                                                  
Comments: According to Scudder (1902), the head and body are shining black but with the pronotum marked with reddish along the front and hind borders and along the edges of the lateral lobes. The tegmina are testaceous (dull brick red) but clouded with blackish; Alexander (1957) describes the tegmina as brown. The legs are also pale or rufous to testaceous and shaded with black.
Total Length [body plus wings; excludes ovipositor]: 20 mm, female (Scudder, 1902)
Structural Features: Pronotum widest at the front margin or at least anterior to the middle; head of the male is usually wider than than the pronotum and appearing globose (Alexander, 1957)
Singing Behavior: As described by Fulton (1952), the song of this species consists of a continuous trill (broken at irregular intervals) rather than the series of chirps typical of this genus. The dominant frequency ranges between 4.8 kHz (at 78 degrees F, SINA) to 5 kHz (Elliot and Hershberger, 2006); we have at least a few records where the frequency is just above 4 kHz. The pulse rate is about 60 pulses per second (Alexander, 1957), at least when fairly warm.

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Distribution in North Carolina
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Fields and grasslands (Fulton, 1952). Some individuals are also heard in open areas of woodlands, usually in the vicinity of grassy fields (S. Hall, pers. obs.)
Diet: Probably omnivorous
Observation Methods: Most easily found by song, which males produce both day and night
Abundance/Frequency: Usually heard singing in moderate densities
Adult Phenology: According to Fulton (1952), the "Triller" normally begins singing on the first warm days in March, but a graph he presented (Figure 1) indicated that at least a few adults emerge in the late fall or early winter, persisting until the spring. We have, in fact, a record of a male singing on November 30 and one on February 24 during a particularly warm spell. Singing males do not become common until late March, however, singing until mid-June, with a second brood starting in early July and persisting until mid-September (Fulton, 1952).
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: [G5] [S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: Appears to be widespread in the Piedmont and associated with common types of habitat; appears to be secure within the state

Photo Gallery for Gryllus rubens - Southeastern Field Cricket

Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Orange Co.
Comment: Males appear to be reaching another peak in singing activity; no chirping species of Gryllus has been heard singing in this area
Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Orange Co.
Comment: A couple of adults were seen along the greenway; males are still singing in the vicinity but G. fultoni ceased calling about a month ago
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Dee Stuckey
Orange Co.
Comment: 20:11, ~78 F. Recorded in thick grass cover. Two adult females were seen nearby
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman
Scotland Co.
Comment: Male
Recorded by: Steve Hall
Orange Co.
Comment: One individual heard singing in grass below a shrub planted in a stormwater detention swale. Temperatures have been in the 70s for the past several days and it was 71 at dusk today (65 on 25-FEB-2018, when the recording was made).
Recorded by: Steve Hall
Chatham Co.
Comment: Recorded in a dry patch of Andropogon virginicus growing in the ruins of an old mill. Irregular trill but with a dominant pitch and shape of individual pulses matching Gryllus rubens. 16:30, ~60 F.
Recorded by: Steve Hall
Orange Co.
Comment: Several heard out in open fields, but at least few were also heard singing along a berm next to a creek within a stand of young second growth hardwoods
Recorded by: J. Shimel
New Hanover Co.
Comment: Identification is based on the spring date and dark tegmina