Tuesday, 8 October 2013

100 not out ...

Acheta domesticus

Commonly known as the house cricket, Acheta domesticus occurs in the British Isles as a non-native species. It most likely originated in the hot, dry desert regions of Southwestern Asia, but has spread throughout the world. It is not well adapted to surviving the northern European winter, hence most British records come from artificial environments, such as those found in kitchens, bakeries, boiler houses, glasshouses (such as the female example below) and other areas where it is especially warm; though it can occasionally be found outdoors during the summer months on rubbish dumps and compost heaps, where the fermenting waste generates heat. There are very few outdoor records in the UK.

A. domesticus hides in crevices during the day and becomes active during the late afternoon and into the hours of darkness. The chirruping of the male, produced by rubbing the two front wings together, attracts the female cricket. After mating, several hundred eggs can be laid over a period of a few weeks. Whilst out of doors the eggs are usually laid in a shallow pit in soft earth, in artificial environments the eggs are typically deposited in moist debris in cracks and crevices. They are highly temperature sensitive, being inactive below 20°C, and developing through the nymphal stages most rapidly at around 35°C. High humidity is known to be important. With this in mind, the nymphs usually experience 7-9 moults before reaching maturity; which can take between 5 weeks to 4 months.

Though omnivorous scavengers, A. domesticus shows a preference towards vegetable matter. They themselves are commercially reared as food for pets such as amphibians, arthropods, birds and reptiles. In Thailand, they are also farmed for human consumption where they are commonly eaten as a deep-fried snack.