Orthoptera of North Carolina
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View Gryllidae Members: NC Records

Neonemobius variegatus (Bruner, 1893) - Variegated Ground Cricket


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Taxonomy
Family: Gryllidae Subfamily: Nemobiinae Tribe: PteronemobiiniSynonym: Nemobius bruneri                                                                                 
Comments: One of six species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Cigliano et al., 2017), three of which have been recorded in North Carolina
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: SINATechnical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Hebard (1913)SINA 546a.htm                                                                                  
Comments: Hebard (1913) describes the general color as clay yellow mottled or flecked with mummy brown. The head below the antennae is distinctively shining dark brown, but the occiput is cinnamon, mottled with brown. In the male, the dorsal surface of the abdomen is dark brown, but in the female it is clay color spotted with dark brown.
Total Length [body plus wings; excludes ovipositor]: 7 mm, males (Washington DC); 9.1 mm (Maryland) (Hebard, 1931)
Structural Features: Members of Neonemobius are distinguished by their small size -- males are less than 9 mm in body length. Females also possess short, upwardly curved ovipositors, less than or equal to 2/3 the length of the hind femur, and that have fine teeth only on the dorsal side of the tip (SINA, 2017)
Singing Behavior: Fulton (1931) described the song of variegatus (= bruneri) as similar to that of Allonemobius allardi (which he identified as A. f. fasciatus). However, rather than the separate "sharp chirps" of that species, the song of variegatus is "higher pitched, weaker", and with a vibrato that is "more rapid, and not perceptible at high temperatures". Spectrograms and audio files for this species are not available on either SINA or the Macaulay Library, but Strang (2017) provides several recordings that indicate it has a song very similar to that of the other two members of Neonemobius: a trill that begins softly, crescendos, reaches a steady high level, and ends abruptly.
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)

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Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Fulton (1931) describes the habitat as consisting of stream borders, particularly on somewhat open gravel bars.
Diet: Probably omnivorous
Observation Methods: Based on Fulton's (1931) comments, this species may be difficult to detect by ear.
Abundance/Frequency:
Adult Phenology: Fulton (1951) reported that adults of variegatus are the latest of the ground crickets to emerge as adults in the Raleigh are, appearing in the first half of September and persisting until the first week of November
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [SU]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: We have very few records for this species and there is comparatively little information in the literature. The habitat of this species, however, is widespread and it has probably been generally overlooked. More information is needed, however, of its distribution and exact habitat associations in the state before its conservation status can be accurately assessed.