Orthoptera of North Carolina
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View Gryllidae Members: NC Records

Velarifictorus micado (Saussure, 1877) - Japanese Burrowing Cricket



Female

Female

Nymph
Taxonomy
Family: Gryllidae Subfamily: Gryllinae Tribe: Modicogryllini                                                                                 
Comments: One of a large genus of Asian, African, and Australian species (Cigliano et al., 2017), with micado the single introduced species found in North America
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Capinera et al. (2004)Online Photographs: SINA, BugGuide, Songs of InsectsTechnical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Alexander and Walker (1962, as Scapsipedus micado)SINA 551a.htm                                                                                  
Comments: A small, dark grayish brown cricket with a distinctive pattern of pale stripes on its head. The head is brown with a unique white stripe that runs between the eyes and bases of the antennae. White stripes also run ventrally from the bases of the antennae, partially surround the eye, and run forward from the rear edge of the occiput. The palps are also white. The pronotum, abdomen, and legs are mottled with dark brown and paler, yellow brown; the tegmina are blackish brown. The only species with which it can be confused is Miogryllus verticalis, which also has a dark head with a set of contrasting pale lines. That species, however, has only a broken pale mark between the antennae and has yellowish palps with a dusky terminal segment.
Total Length [body plus wings; excludes ovipositor]: 0.5 - 0.875" (Himmelman, 2009)
Structural Features: The head in dorsal view is oval, similar to most members of the Gryllinae, rather than globose, as in Miogryllus. The lower portion of the face is more elongated than than our other species. Both micropterous and macropterous individuals exist.
Singing Behavior: The typical calling songs consist of evenly spaced, long chirps given at a rate of about 3 per second at 80 F, with each chirp composed of 6 pulses (Alexander and Walker, 1962). A song illustrated on SINA has a dominant pitch of 3.6 kHz at 79 F (= 26 C). Alexander (1961) provided spectrograms of two additional types: an aggressive song, which is similar to the calling song but more irregular and with an increasing amplitude from start to finish, and a courtship song, which is consists of longer chirps, with as much as 14 pulses per second, usually preceded by 1 or 2 louder clicks (see scrolling spectrograph). Chen et al. (2005) describe even more types of songs -- as many as seven -- each with its own function.

Download Video: "MP4"

Nymphal Stages and Development: Nymphs have head markings similar to those of adults
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: In Florida, southern Alabama, and Mississippi, Walker (1977) reported that this species is widespread in rural areas, "where it is especially abundant in wet or mesic wooded and partially wooded habitats". Our records agree but we have also found it in North Carolina on dry monadnocks, upland fields, and residential lawns. In fact, it is difficult to describe where it does not occur, although we have not yet sampled xeric sandhill habitats, which Walker believed might be an unoccupiable barrier to this species.
Diet: Presumably omnivorous
Observation Methods: Males are easily detected by their songs. Although they dig their own burrows, individuals can be found under logs and other debris. At least in high density populations, they can also be easily seen running through the leaf litter during the day or can be found along greenways and other trails at dusk.
Abundance/Frequency: This species is now probably found throughout the Piedmont and Coastal Plain. One extremely high density population was observed during a bioblitz held at Lake Norman State Park, Iredell County, on September 8, 2018. While males were heard singing at fairly spread out locations, individuals of this species were constantly seen underfoot, from bottomland forests to dry ridges, all far from human habitations; on the other hand, it seemed no less common in disturbed grassy areas or old field habitats close to buildings (S. Hall, pers. obs.).
Adult Phenology: Our records come from early July through late October
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: [GNR] [SNA]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: As an introduced species, Velarifictorus does not merit any conservation efforts on its own behalf. However, its widespread penetration of natural areas should be monitored to see what effect it is having on our native cricket fauna. In at least a few areas in North Carolina, this species reaches extremely high densities, where it may be having a significant impact on our native crickets due both to its possible predation on them as well as its competition for space and food. This species may turn out to be as major an invasive species as Japanese Stilt Grass, although less likely to be noticed by the general public.

Photo Gallery for Velarifictorus micado - Japanese Burrowing Cricket

Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Steve Hall
Iredell Co.
Comment: Courtship song; calling from grassy and weedy areas
Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Orange Co.
Comment: Several seen on the paved greenway; a few adults were heard singing closeby
Recorded by: Steve Hall
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall
Orange Co.
Comment: 00:21; 73 F. Calling next to the house for the past three days
Recorded by: Steve Hall
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Orange Co.
Comment: Found under a log on a sandy creek terrace
Recorded by: Stephen Hall
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall and Bo Sullivan
New Hanover Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall and Bo Sullivan
New Hanover Co.
Comment: ~70 F at 20:50
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Dee Stuckey
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Dee Stuckey
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: J. Wyche
Gates Co.
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Recorded by: J. Wyche
Gates Co.
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