Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Crickets in the Classroom and Just About Everywhere Else

A few weeks ago we conducted a cricket lab.

Someone left the cricket cage open...  Can you just imagine how bad this was?  Crickets went all over the school.   All 150 of them!  They were even in one teacher's purse.  She discovered this while driving.  A cricket crawled out of her purse and she nearly ran off the road! 

We had a great time discovering these little tasty friends.  Tasty to the lizards in here.  Crickets are their number one source of food.

Here are some cricket eggs that we are watching. If these eggs are kept warm at about 88 degrees fahrenheit for around 11 days they will emerge as tiny little nymphs.  These nymphs take about a month before they are big enough to eat.   The hardest part about hatching out crickets is keeping them moist.  If they dry out one time they die.  The second hardest part about rearing crickets is the smell.  My classroom has no windows that open so I prefer not to raise crickets or keep them here for too long.

Students were amazed at the sight of a cricket's ear.  They are located on the two forelegs.  Our microscope on loan from Furman University captured a great picture of this.

We also discovered that only the male crickets chirp.  They use their bumpy hind wings to make that amazing cricket sound. We learned how to tell the temperature by counting how many times the cricket chirps in 15 seconds and then adding 40 to that.

Compound eye 

Female wing 

Ovipositor for laying eggs  

Mandibles and palps 


Children who lived in the forbidden city of China during the Ming Dynasty in the 1400's used to keep crickets as pets.  They even took them for walks.  They kept them in tiny little boxes.

My students were so excited about what they learned.   Many of them wanted to go to the pet store to purchase some crickets of their own as pets.  My suggestion was to go outside and find some for themselves.

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