There are approximately 2,400 species within the Gryllidae family of crickets worldwide. The life cycle of each species varies according to a number of factors, including climate. A total of nine different life cycles has been observed and recorded. Those cycles range from as short as two months to as long as six months.
Cricket’s Reproduction Variation
Most species in temperate climates are univoltine and produce only a single generation per year. Others are bivoltine, producing two generations per year, and a few are semivoltine, producing only one generation every two years. Depending upon the climate, eggs can remain dormant throughout the winter, hatching in the spring, a process known as overwintering.
In species with heterodynamic life cycles, mating only occurs seasonally, while those with homodynamic life cycles reproduce year round. Homodynamic species of crickets can be observed in all stages of development during all seasons, and are found primarily in tropical climates.
Cricket’s Mating Characteristics
Crickets vary in length from as small as 3mm to as large as 50mm. The male cricket produces chirping sounds by scraping a part of one forewing against a row of 50 to 250 teeth on the opposite forewing. Chirping frequencies can range from 1,500 cycles per second in larger species to 10,000 cycles per second in smaller ones. The rate of chirping increases at higher temperatures.
Some species are nocturnal. Those that inhabit trees and bushes chirp only at night. Species that inhabit weeds chirp both night and day. Only males can fly, but both sexes have highly sensitive sound reception organs on their forelegs. The male chirping attracts the female and repels other males.
Cricket’s Reproductive Cycle
After mating, the female uses her ovipositor to insert her eggs into a damp substrate such as soil or plant stems. Adult females lay eggs almost continuously and can lay up to 200 during their life spans. In heterodynamic species that overwinter, the eggs can lie dormant before hatching for up to 40 days. In homodynamic species, it takes approximately 14 days for the fertilized egg to develop into a nymph, the first stage of the life cycle.
After hatching, the nymphs dig themselves out of the substrate. Male nymphs emerge without wings and females without ovipositors. These organs develop over time through a process of molting in which the nymphs shed their hard exoskeletons. That exoskeleton is replaced by a softer one, which hardens over time until the next molting period. Crickets undergo the molting process from 8 to 10 times within their lifetimes. Nymphs begin growing wings after approximately one month and reach sexual maturity between eight and twelve weeks.
Cricket’s Life Span Environmental Factors
Studies have shown that while the average life span of adult crickets is approximately 70 days, that cycle can be affected by a number of factors, such as climate and the availability of sufficient water. Dehydration results in a slower rate of growth and development, later sexual maturation and a decreased life span. The life span of all species can also be affected by habitat permanence and population density.
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