An invasive species of cricket is displacing domestic crickets in the eastern United States, a study published in the journal PeerJ finds. The Asian camel cricket, Diestrammena asynamora, is occupying U.S. homes, particularly basements, garages and cellars. While the crickets do not pose a threat to humans, scientists say they know very little about how the species could impact local ecosystems.
The research stems from a chance encounter, State said, when a cricket taxonomist found a cricket in the home of one of the N.C. State researchers.
The researchers then asked the public whether they had camel crickets (also known as cave crickets) in their homes and, if so, to send in photos or mail in physical specimens. The responses they got were surprising.
The most common species reported, by more than 90 percent of respondents, was the greenhouse camel cricket. Native to Asia, N.C. State said species was first sighted in the U.S. in the 19th century – but it was thought to be rare outside of commercial greenhouses.
Instead, the researchers found that it is now far more common than native camel crickets in and near homes east of the Mississippi, according to an N.C. State news release.
“We don’t know what kind of impact this species has on local ecosystems though it’s possible that the greenhouse camel cricket could be driving out native camel cricket species in homes,” Epps said.
The researchers sampled the yards of 10 homes in Raleigh and found large numbers of greenhouse camel crickets. The higher numbers were found in the areas of the yards closest to homes.
The photos submitted by the public turned up a second surprise as well.
“There appears to be a second Asian species, Diestrammena japanica, that hasn’t been formally reported in the U.S. before, but seems to be showing up in homes in the Northeast,” Epps said. “However, that species has only been identified based on photos. We’d love to get a physical specimen to determine whether it is D. japanica.”
The researchers stress that homeowners shouldn’t panic if they find camel crickets in their homes.
“Because they are scavengers, camel crickets may actually provide an important service in our basements or garages, eating the dead stuff that accumulates there,” says Holly Menninger, director of public science in the Your Wild Life lab at N.C. State.
“We know remarkably little about these camel crickets, such as their biology or how they interact with other species,” Menninger said. “We’re interested in continuing to study them, and there’s a lot to learn.”
Eastern?? I had a infestation that almost took over my home!! Not my basement, not my cellar, my HOME. Till I got two cats….. now I don’t see em at all! 🙂
Oh, the eastern part was…. I’m in north west Arkansas!!!!
If you are forced to crush one of these crickets (they are semitransparent, bodies full of liquid) between your molars, your head will turn a glowing eery cyan color, then you will become deceased and your septum will be full of these crickets chewing their way up through the area about your sternum, finally erupting in terrifying