What was up with those mormon crickets?

the roads around these parts were red and stinky, they were on an unstoppable march, Except for the ones that got squished on the roads!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The Mormon cricket (Anabrus simplex) is a shieldbacked katydid, and not a cricket at all. They are large insects that can grow to almost three inches in length. Mormon crickets live throughout western North America in rangelands dominated by sagebrush and forbs. It is flightless, but capable of traveling up to two kilometers a day in its swarming phase. In its swarming phase it is a serious agricultural pest.Appearance

    Mormon crickets have variable coloration. The overall color may be black, brown, red, purple or green. The "shield" (actually vestigial wings) behind the head may have colored markings. The abdomen may appear to be striped. Females have a long ovipositor, which may be mistaken for a stinger. Both sexes have long antennae.

    Mormon crickets may undergo morphological changes triggered by high population densities, similar to those seen in locusts. The best-attested change is coloration: solitary individuals typically have drab coloration while swarming individuals are often brightly colored.

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    Life Cycle

    Oct. '05 UtahMormon cricket eggs mostly hatch the spring after they are laid, although in some high-elevation areas eggs may take two years to hatch. Hatching begins when soil temperatures reach 40 F (4 C). The nymphs pass through seven instars before reaching the adult stage, typically taking 60 to 90 days.

    Breeding begins within 10 to 14 days of reaching the adult stage. The male passes a large spermatophore to the female, which can be up to 27% of his body weight. The spermatophore is mostly food for the female to consume but also contains sperm to fertilize her eggs. The value of this nuptial gift is such that swarming-phase females compete for males. This sexual role-reversal is not seen in solitary-phase females.

    The female lays her eggs by thrusting her ovipositor deep into the soil. Females lay about one hundred eggs.

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    Swarming

    Summer 06 NevadaThe Mormon cricket exists in populations of relatively low density throughout most of its range. However at certain times and places population explosions or infestations occur in which large numbers of the cricket form roving bands. These bands may include millions of individuals and have a population density of up to 100 individuals per square meter. These infestations may last years or even decades, and are characterized by a gradual increase and then decrease in population. The factors that trigger these infestations are poorly understood, but are thought to be weather related.

    When a large band crosses a road it can cause a safety hazard by causing distracted revulsion on the part of the driver, by covering windshields in sticky splatter or even by causing the road surface to become slick with their fluids.

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    Food

    Mormon crickets eating another Mormon cricketThe Mormon cricket prefers to eat forbs, especially cultivated crops such as alfalfa, and vegetables. Grasses and shrubs such as sagebrush are also eaten. Insects, notably other Mormon crickets, are also eaten, especially individuals that have been killed or injured by automobiles or insecticides. A recent study has suggested that the migration of swarms may be a strategy to avoid predation by other Mormon crickets.

    During an infestation Mormon crickets can cause significant damage to crops and gardens, however they have not been shown to decrease the livestock forage value of rangeland.

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    Control

    Mormon crickets are preyed upon by a wide variety of birds and mammals. These predators include California Gulls, crows, coyotes and various rodents. They were also eaten by Native Americans. There are no predators that specialize on Mormon crickets, which may be explained by the cricket's migratory habits and large population fluctuations.

    The most common chemical control method used is carbaryl (typically sold as "Sevin") bait. This bait kills both the Mormon crickets that eat the bait, and the crickets that eat the crickets that eat the bait. Insecticides applied directly to crops may kill the insects, but due to the large size of swarms this method usually does not save the crop from being destroyed.

    As Mormon crickets are flightless, physical barriers may be effective. Barriers should be at least two feet high and made of a smooth material.

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    Folklore

    According to American folklore, the first Mormon settlement in Utah was saved from famine by gulls eating hordes of Mormon crickets that had been destroying their first wheat crop; hence the name of the insect. California Gulls are known to relocate to desert areas to feed on Mormon cricket swarms, although their effectiveness in controlling infestations is thought to be minimal.

  • 1 decade ago

    Sounds like riky has covered all the bases ...... cuz I dunno Jack! Give Ricky the best answer not much more any body can say ..... IS THERE?

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Hmmm, i dont know what got into them!!!

    Source(s): I have no clue! What i am sayin!
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