Gryllodes sigillatus Life Cycle Introduction Thomas J. Walker

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EENY-064
Tropical House Cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus (F. Walker)1
Thomas J. Walker2
Introduction
The tropical house cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus, (also known
as the “decorated cricket”), is common in urban areas and
sometimes occur indoors. It is easily reared but, unlike
its temperate counterpart (the house cricket), it is seldom
exploited for pet food or fish bait.
Other Florida field and house crickets
Distribution
The tropical house cricket is probably native to southwestern Asia but has been spread by commerce to tropical
regions throughout the world.
Figure 1. Distribution of the tropical house cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus
(F. Walker).
Life Cycle
Like house crickets, there is no special overwintering
stage and generations are continuous. Depending on the
temperature, development from egg to adult takes two to
three months.
Identification
The tropical house cricket is a 13 to 18 mm long, light
yellowish-brown, somewhat flattened cricket. Males have
wings that only half cover the abdomen and females are
practically wingless. Very rarely, a male or female has long
wings that make them look like house crickets. However,
in the tropical house cricket the space between the antennae is narrow (about the width of the basal segment of
either antenna), and there is a single dark transverse band
between the eyes.
Figure 2. Tropical house cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus (F. Walker), male
(left) and female (right).
Credits: Paul M. Choate, University of Florida
1. This document is EENY-064, one of a series of the Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date January
1999. Revised May 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. This document is also available on the Feature Creature website at http://
entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/.
2. Thomas J. Walker, professor, Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to
individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national
origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county’s UF/IFAS Extension office.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County
Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.
Habitat
In Florida, tropical house crickets are most frequently
found outdoors in or near paved areas. At night they issue
from hiding places, such as crevices between pavement
blocks, to forage (like roaches) and sing (like crickets).
When they move into buildings, as they occasionally do,
their songs reveal their presence.
Walker TJ. (2014). Tropical house cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus (F. Walker 1869). Singing Insects of North America. (11
April 2014).
Will MW, Sakaluk SK. 1994. Courtship feeding in decorated
crickets: Is the spermatophylax a sham? Animal Behavior
48: 1309-1315.
Song and Mating
The calling song (690 Kb wav file) consists of a sequence
of brief chirps, each with three principal pulses. Within a
chirp, each pulse represents a closure of the wings while
a scraper on one wing engages a toothed file on the other.
The pulses of a chirp grow successively longer as 1/2, 3/4
and the entire file is used (graphs). Only males call. When
a female is attracted to the song, courtship ensues, and
the male attaches a bag of sperm (spermatophore) to the
female. The male surrounds the spermatophore with a
proteinaceous mass on which the female feeds while the
sperm pass into her internal sperm receptacle. The bigger
the mass, the longer the sperm may have to enter, because
the female usually eats all or part of the covering prior to
removing the spermatophore proper.
Management
Generally tropical house crickets do no harm. Should they
cause problems by their presence or calling in a structure,
they can be eliminated by setting out baits sold for cockroach or earwig control.
Selected References
Ghouri ASK, McFarlane JE. 1958. Occurrence of a macropterous form of Gryllodes sigillatus (Walker) (Orthoptera:
Gryllidae) in laboratory culture. Canadian Journal of
Zoology 36: 837-838.
Rauf A, Aziz SA. 1983. Sound production in Gryllodes
sigillatus. Journal of Entomological Research 6: 48-50.
Sakaluk SK. 1984. Male crickets (Gryllodes supplicans) feed
females to ensure complete sperm transfer. Science 223:
609-610.
Sakaluk SK. 1987. Reproductive behaviour of the decorated
cricket, Gryllodes supplicans (Orthoptera: Gryllidae): calling schedules, spatial distribution, and mating. Behaviour
100: 202-225.
Tropical House Cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus (F. Walker)
2

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