Singing Insects of North America (SINA)

by Thomas J. Walker

crickets katydids cicadas home help

The primary goal of this Web site is to help users identify all species of crickets and katydids from America north of Mexico and the common species of Florida cicadas. The males of most species in these groups make loud, persistent calls that attract sexually ready, conspecific females. Because the songs are loud and species specific they are usually an easy means of identifying the caller. They also facilitate field and laboratory studies of many sorts.

Secondary goals of this site are to attract amateur and professional biologists to the study of singing insects and to provide them helpful information and access to relevant literature.

Those who have not used SINA before should be advised that the morphological keys have not been updated to accommodate some of the changes made in the higher classifications of crickets and katydids since 2001. Those who have an idea of the common or scientific name of the species they wish to identify, should go directly to the list of species of North American crickets or katydids. There they will find direct links to the “species pages” of the 151 species of crickets and 266 species of katydids arranged under their current higher classifications.
To accomodate most browsers, SINA serves audio files as MP3, OGG, and WAV files. Most browsers support MP3 and/or OGG files and, even though these are compressed files, audio quality should be as good as WAV files (which are not compressed). If you experience poor sound quality, try opening the web page in another browser. If that fails to improve quality, the problem may be the original analog tape recording at the time it was digitized.

Except for first-time users of SINA, few spend time on the content of SINA's home page. Instead they click directly to either SINA's list of North American crickets or katydids.


Frequently? asked questions Early contributions to SINA Aids to using SINA
How to use SINA Other acknowledgements About SINA
Some features of SINA Copyrights Current update of SINA
Contributing to SINA Relevant literature  

How to use SINA

SINA is designed to be used without requiring the user to consult detailed directions. At first, when these instructions were written, SINA was not as user friendly as it is now. The text below is lightly edited and left in place—in case some user cares to read it.

To determine if an insect is a cricket, katydid, or cicada

Go to How to recognize crickets, katydids, and cicadas.

To identify an unknown cricket, katydid, or cicada

Go to the division dealing with Crickets, Katydids, or Cicadas and click on the Keys button. When you must decide among the species within a genus, seek advice or help on the genus page. Then browse the species pages and accept or reject the choices on the basis of appearance, song, morphological features, and geographical, seasonal, and ecological distribution.

To learn about a species of cricket, katydid, or cicada for which you know the name

Go to the division dealing with Crickets, Katydids, or Cicadas and click on the List of Species button. In the checklist, find the species (by scientific or common name) and click on the link.

To learn about a genus or subfamily for which you know the name

Go to the appropriate division (Crickets, Katydids, or Cicadas) and click on the List of Species button. Within the checklist, find the genus or subfamily (by scientific or common name) and click on the link.

To go to a key to the genera of a subfamily you know

Go to the subfamily page (from the key to subfamilies or from the List of Species). The first section of the subfamily page will have a link to the key to genera.

Some features of SINA

Types of pages

Most of the pages in Singing Insects of North America [SINA] are either taxa pages (for example, species pages, genus pages, subfamily pages, and family pages) or image pages. Image pages display the "regular" version of an image (see Image views), describe the image, and give its source. They are usually accessed from thumbnails of the image on a taxon page. Other types of pages are pictorial key pages, checklist pages (accessed from "List of species" buttons), and general information pages (such as this one).

Navigation buttons

SINA has dark-green buttons and gold buttons that facilitate rapid movement to and from every part of the site. The dark-green buttons, at the top of most pages, take the user to the major divisions of SINA. The gold buttons, at the bottom of species pages and at the top of most image pages, are for local moves. The text on each button identifies its action. "Next Species" and "Previous Species" buttons move the user from species to species in the same (alphabetical) order as in the checklists. "Next Image" and "Previous Image" buttons move the user among images of a species in the same sequence as they occur in thumbnail views on a taxon page.

Image views

Most images can be viewed in three sizes: thumbnail (128 pixels wide or less), regular (usually 640 pixels wide), and jumbo (usually 1280 pixels wide). To move up the scale of magnification, click on the image. To move down from a jumbo view, use the Back function of your browser. To move down from a regular view, use the appropriate local navigation button.

Internal and external links

Most links on this site are internal—that is, they go to items that are posted as part of SINA. Links that go to items that are not part of SINA are identified by the text for the link being a URL. For example, here is an external link to the online version of the Orthoptera Species File: http://orthoptera.speciesfile.org . And here is an internal one to How to use SINA.

Literature

All references in SINA are now listed both in a union list and in at least one subject-specific list of references. The subject-specific lists are on the pages for particular SINA subjects, usually subfamilies or genera. This places the most relevant references for these subjects in a place where they can be browsed efficiently. The union list is primarily to provide an efficient means to determine whether a known reference is available in full text on this site. More than 250 of the more than 650 listed references are so available, usually in the form of PDF files made by scanning articles or reprints.

Citations to literature in the text of SINA are made by the name-year system (e.g., Walker 1974). Each in-text citation is linked, as in the example just given, to an entry in a list of references. Each entry specifies the item of literature in enough detail to permit its retrieval from a library that holds it. In some cases the entry is linked to the full text of the item in PDF format.

How SINA files are named

The PDF document "Coding system for SINA files" explains how SINA's more than 10,000 files are named.

Contributing to SINA

We hope you have found (or will find) Singing Insects of North America useful. We encourage you to help make it better. Here are four ways you might do so.

Contribute good photographs of living individuals for species for which SINA has none.

Contribute photographs of living individuals that are better than the ones currently posted on SINA.

Contribute good recordings of the calling songs of species for which SINA has none.

Point out errors and suggest improvements.

If you wish to contribute to SINA in any of these ways, please contact the current editor at tjw@ufl.edu.

Early contributions to SINA

These persons and institutions contributed content to SINA during its first 10 years. Many continue to do so.

Photographs: Wayne P. Armstrong (https://www2.palomar.edu/users/warmstrong/index.htm), Ralph Arvesen (Spring Holler Ranch), Scott Bastian, Oliver M. Beckers (University of Missouri, Columbia), Heiko Bellman (Ulm, Germany), Ron Billings (Texas Forest Service), Sarah Braun (Florida State University), Rob Broekhuis (Rob's Plants), John L. Capinera (University of Florida), Dwayne Carnes, Jeff Cole, Chris Kline (Boyce Thompson Arboretum), David L. Cuthrell, Tony DiTerlizzi (http://www.diterlizzi.com/), Timothy G. Forrest (University of North Carolina Asheville), Lang Elliott (http://www.musicofnature.com/), David H. Funk (Stroud Water Research Center), David A. Gray (California State University Northridge), Darryll Gwynne (Univerity of Toronto), Donald W. Hall (University of Florida), William F. Hall (Shaw Nature Reserve), Wil Hershberger (http://www.musicofnature.com/), John Himmelman (Killingsworth,CT), Robert Jenson (Bob Jenson Photography), Dan L. Johnson (Agriculture Canada), James E. Lloyd (University of Florida), Patrick Lorch (Kent State University), Ron Lyons, Michael M. Luts, Steve A. Marshall (University of Guelph), Glenn K. Morris (University of Toronto), Steve Nanz, Piotr Naskrecki (Conservation International), Steven Paiero (Guelph University), Loren Padelford, Anne Patchell, Kenneth Prestwich (College of the Holy Cross), Lynette Schimm, Martha Schrami, Steve Schwartzman (Visual Delights, Austin, Texas), Leo Shapiro (University of California Berkeley), Kenneth C. Shaw (Iowa State University), Steve Shively (Kisatchie National Forest), Carl Strang (Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Illinois), Jenny Szilagyi, James C. Trager (Shaw Nature Reserve), Ken Womble (Florida State University), P. Allen Woodliffe (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources); Missouri Department of Conservation.

Recordings of songs: Evan Braswell (New Mexico State University), Lang Elliott (Songs of Insects), Timothy G. Forrest (University of North Carolina Asheville), David A. Gray (California State University Northridge), Glenn K. Morris (University of Toronto), David B. Weissman (California Academy of Sciences).

Distribution records: Jeff Cole (Los Angeles, CA), Wil Hershberger (Songs of Insects), John Himmelman (Killingworth, CT), Susan Greenlee (Missouri Department of Conservation), Vincent Marshall (University of Missouri-Columbia), John A. Stidham (Garland, TX), Carl Strang (Mayslake Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, IL).

Other acknowledgements

General

Piotr Naskrecki encouraged us to make an interactive Web site that could be distributed via CDs rather than merely make audio CDs of the songs of North American insects. The CD accompanying his Katydids of Costa Rica inspired us to begin this project, and we have shamelessly copied, with his approval, many of the devices that make his CD so compelling.

Crickets and Katydids

During more than 40 years of studying crickets and katydids in North America, indoors and out, I've been helped in large ways and small by more persons than I can remember. The ones listed here are among those who deserve special credit.

Field work: Robert E. Love, John D. Spooner, David L. Mays, James J. Whitesell, Karl J. Stone, Richard D. Alexander, Glenn K. Morris, S. N. Ulagaraj, Robert C. Paul, Doug Palmer, Dennis W. Figg, H. Fred Strohecker.

Laboratory work: Susan A. Wineriter, Robert E. Love, John D. Spooner, Timothy G. Forrest, David L. Mays, James J. Whitesell, Phoebe Wilson, Paul M. Choate, Dong Ngo.

Museum curators: R. E. Woodruff and M. C. Thomas (FSCA), R. D. Alexander and I. J. Cantrall (UMMZ), Dan Otte (ANSP), Ashley B. Gurney (USNM).

Graphics: Susan A. Wineriter, Phoebe Wilson, Paul M. Choate, Eliza Karpook, Harry McVay.

SINA Web site development: Kelly Sweeney, Christopher Cleasby, Mary Rogers, Carrie Newsom, Joe Gasper, Teresa Cooper.

Data entry into GrylTett.mdb database: Yi Sun, Kelly Sweeney, Cynthia Williams, Mary Rogers, Carrie Newsom.

Copyrights

SINA was founded with the intent that it be, and remain, openly accessible to all with minimal restrictions on the use of its contents. Because the Orthopterists’ Society [OS] has promised SINA a permanent home on the web, TJW supposes that the OS will apply the same Creative Commons License to SINA as it does to its Orthoptera Species File Online—namely, Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (=CC BY-SA 4.0).

Relevant literature

Lists of references

Alexander RD, Otte D. 1967. The evolution of genitalia and mating behavior in crickets (Gryllidae) and other Orthoptera. Misc Publ Mus Zool, Univ Michigan, No. 133. 62 p.

Alexander RD, Pace AE, Otte D. 1972. The singing insects of Michigan. Gt. Lakes Entomol. 5: 33-69.

Barnum AH. 1952. The taxonony of Utah Orthoptera with notes on distribution. M.A. thesis, Zoology and Entomology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.

Blatchley WS. 1920. Orthoptera of northeastern America. Indianapolis, IN: Nature Publishing. 784 p. Title page and introduction: pp. 1-40 [PDF files of other parts are with the accounts of crickets and katydids and their families and subfamilies.]

Cantrall IJ. 1941. Compendium of entomological methods. Pt II. Notes on collecting and preserving Orthoptera. Rochester, NY: Wards Natural Science Establishment. 28 p.

Cantrall IJ. 1943. The ecology of the Orthoptera and Dermaptera of the George Reserve, Michigan. Misc Publ Mus Zool Univ Mich no. 54. 182 pp + 10 plates.

Cantrall IJ. 1968. An annotated list of the Dermaptera, Dictyoptera, Phasmatoptera, and Orthoptera of Michigan. Mich. Entomol. 1: 299-346.

Dethier VG. 1992. Crickets and katydids, concerts and solos. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. 140 p.

Fulton BB. 1930. Notes on Oregon Orthoptera with descriptions of new species and races. Ann Entomol Soc Am 23(4):611-641.

Fulton BB. 1932. North Carolina's singing Orthoptera. J. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc. 47: 55-69.

Fulton BB. 1951. The seasonal succession of orthopteran stridulation near Raleigh, North Carolina. J. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc. 67: 87-95.

Gangwere SK. 1961. A monograph on food selection in Orthoptera. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 87: 67-230.

Gwynne DL. 1995. Phylogeny of the Ensifera (Orthoptera): a hypothesis supporting multiple origins of acoustical signalling, complex spermatophores and maternal care in crickets, katydids, and weta. J. Orthop. Res. 4: 203-218.

Hebard M. 1934. Dermaptera and Orthoptera in the Kansas State College Collection. J. Kans. Entomol. Soc. 7: 25-36.

Hebard M. 1935. Orthoptera of the Upper Rio Grande Valley and the adjacent mountains in northern New Mexico. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila. 87: 45-47, 69-82. [pp. 48-68 omitted]

Hubbell TH. 1936. A monographic revision of the genus Ceuthophilus (Orthoptera, Gryllacrididae, Rhaphidophorinae). Univ Fla Publ Biol Sci Series vol. 2, no. 1. 551 p., 38 pl.

McAtee WL, Caudell AN. 1918. First list of the Dermaptera and Orthoptera of Plummers Island, Maryland, and vicinity. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 19:100-122.

McCafferty WP, Stein JL. 1976. Indiana Ensifera (Orthoptera). Gt. Lakes Entomol. 9: 25-56.

Nickle DA, Carlysle TC. 1975. Morphology and function of female sound-producing structures in ensiferan Orthoptera with special emphasis on the Phaneropterinae. Int. J. Insect Morph. Embryol. 4: 159-168.

Rehn JAG, Hebard M. 1916. Studies in the Dermaptera and Orthoptera of the Coastal Plain and Piedmont region of the southeastern United States. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila. 68: 87-314. 2 pl. [The pdf file omits caeliferans; it has pp. 87-111, 253-312, 314 and pl. 14.]

Rentz DCF, Weissman DB. 1981. Faunal affinities, systematics, and bionomics of the Orthoptera of the California Channel Islands. U Calif Publ in Entomology 94: 1-240. [The PDF file includes only a key to taxa and accounts and images of Gryllidae & Tettigoniidae: pp 48-57, 88-112, 213-232.]

Sharov AG. [1968] 1971. Phylogeny of the Orthopteroidea [translation]. Jerusalem: Israel Program for Scientific Translations. 251 p.

Stoetzel MB. 1989. Common names of insects & related organisms. Lanham, MD: Entomological Society of America. 199 p.

Tinkham ER. 1948. Faunistic and ecological studies on the Orthoptera of the Big Bend Region of Trans-Pecos Texas with especial reference to the orthopteran zones and faunae of Midwestern North America. Am Midl Nat 40: 521-663. [pp. 521-556 and 620-663 only]

Vickery VR, Kevan DKM. 1985. The grasshoppers, crickets, and related insects of Canada and adjacent regions. Ottawa: Canadian Govt Publ Center. 918 p. [ISBN 0-660-11749-5]

Walker TJ. 1974. Character displacement and acoustic insects. Am. Zool. 14: 1137-1150.

Yang J-T, Chao J-T, Liu W-Y. 1994. Collecting crickets (Orthoptera: Gryllidae) using peanut butter bait traps. J. Orthop. Res. 3: 87-89.

Aids to using SINA

Identification manual

Field Guide to Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets of the United States.
About the manual. Tips for using SINA to supplement the Field Guide's treatments of katydids and crickets. Listen to sample songs while you see their audio spectrograms.

Website

Songs of Insects
This is an easy-to-use, beautiful website for learning about the common species of singing insects in the eastern United States. Its photographs are of professional quality as are its sound recordings and the displays of their audiospectrograms.

Comprehensive guide to scientific names of Orthoptera

Orthoptera Species File Online

OSFO differs from the other aids listed here in that it is of little direct value to the average user of SINA, yet is crucial to those users in an indirect way. This is because it keeps up with the scientific names of Orthoptera in ways made possible by digital computers and fast access to gigabyte data sets. When insect taxonomists speak of the names of species-level taxa, they often note that in spite of the popular belief that the names of species taxa are stable, for a variety of reasons scientific names often change. A major reason is that in zoological nomenclature, names of species are binomials, consisting of a genus name and a species name (e.g. Gryllus pennsylvanicus). During the first half of the 20th century all North American field crickets were considered to be so similar that they could not be separated into species (e.g., Rehn & Hebard 1915). Thus all were known as Gryllus assimilis, except that during this period they were sometimes (erroneously) thought to be more properly placed in Acheta, the genus of house crickets, which, for a time, made all North American field crickets become known as Acheta assimilis!

It was not until B. B. Fulton (1952) published his long term results of studying four populations of Gryllus occurring in North Carolina that entomologists could no longer justify placing all U.S. Gryllus in a single species. Fulton’s four North Carolina species soon became G. pennsylvanicus, firmus, fultoni, and rubens, and, by 2009, the number of SINA-recognized North American Gryllus had reached 18.

It is timely that Gryllus is used here as an example of nomenclatural changes resulting from assigning species to other than the original genus and to describing multiple new species within a genus. In May of 2019 David B. Weissman & David A. Gray will publish the results of a decades-long study of Gryllus north of Mexico that will approximately double the number of species and greatly increase what is known of the previously recognized species. OSFO will promptly include the new species and name changes in OSFO’s Gryllus pages.

Green boxes

As the present update of SINA continues, there will be occasions when the current draft of the ongoing update of its styles and content will be of interest to some particular group. For example, the faculty of the Entomology and Nematology Department of the University of Florida should be given the opportunity to learn something about the ongoing update of SINA as Tom Walker and Teresa Cooper work on it in Rooms 2104 and 2115 of Steinmetz Hall.

This is the current draft of an ongoing update of Singing Insects of North America [SINA], edited by Tom Walker with able assistance from Dr. Teresa Cooper [Dr. Cooper has these entomological papers to her credit.]

The goals of SINA are described in its first two paragraphs. You are invited to browse any and all parts of SINA, but in case you have no time for browsing, here are links to five foreign species that have invaded Florida and an item of interest about each one:

Japanese burrowing cricket (Velarifictorus micado) (item)
Lychee bush cricket (Xenogryllus unipartitus) (item)
Woo’s katydid (Phaneroptera nana sp. #2) (item)
alien raptorial katydid (Phlugis sp.) (item)
Archbold alien katydid (Alloteratura? sp.) (item)

Or, hear and watch a variety of cricket and katydid songs at Sample songs of crickets and katydids.