Narrow-winged Tree Cricket
Common Name: Narrow-winged Tree Cricket.
Scientific Name: Oecanthus Niveus.
What to look for? Eerie-looking, nearly translucent green bug! Narrow-winged Tree Crickets are pale green, nearly to the point of translucence. Their bodies are elongated. The top of the head has a reddish-orange area which sometimes extends down into the pronotum. Narrow-winged Tree Crickets have long, pale green antennae. And they have broad wings that lie flat on the back when at rest. On males, the forewings are broad and hardened, like cellophane, for resonance, which allows them to produce their songs, while wings on females are narrower and softer. Narrow-winged Tree Crickets have long, pale green legs that stretch outward into a flattened stance. On females, a short, dark spike called an ovipositor extends from the abdomen. Their nymphs are similar, but without wings or with only short wing pads.
Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? Narrow-winged Tree Crickets commonly dwell high up in trees and are rarely found close to the ground. So, if you are looking around Carillon Stonegate Pond, look up into the trees.
How big are they? The Narrow-winged Tree Cricket averages approximately one inch in length.
What are their flight patterns? The Narrow-winged Tree Cricket can fly, but laboriously. Instead of flight, they rely crawling or leaping.
How else do they behave? The Narrow-winged Tree Cricket will do a lizard-like crawl along branches. Or they use their long hind legs to leaps from branch to branch.
What’s for dinner? Narrow-winged Tree Crickets are omnivorous. While they eat leaves, the bulk of their diet reportedly consists of smaller, soft-bodied insects, with a preference for aphids.
Where do they take up residence? The Narrow-winged Tree Cricket is found from the eastern edge of the Great Plains (excluding North Dakota) and east across the U.S. They reside in any habitat that has trees.
When and where do they breed and nest? Narrow-winged Tree Crickets mate from August to November. The female Narrow-winged Tree Cricket lays eggs in pin-size holes made in the bark of trees. They spend the winter this way and hatch the following spring. They have one generation per year. Like all tree crickets, Narrow-winged Tree Crickets have incomplete metamorphosis. nymphs resemble small adults and gradually develop external wing buds as they molt.
Where do they migrate? The Narrow-winged Tree Cricket does not migrate. Rather newly laid eggs overwinter.
Do they make any interesting sounds? The Narrow-winged Tree Cricket sings soft trills several seconds in duration.
Interesting Facts About the Narrow-winged Tree Cricket:
Tree cricket chirps at a regular rate that is dependent on the temperature such that by adding 40 to the number of chirps heard in 15 seconds, one can get a good approximation of the outside air temperature.
Narrow-winged Tree Cricket are common in this area although they are seldom seen because they live most of their lives high up in trees.
Tree crickets can more reliably be identified by their songs than by visual identification.
For more information on the Narrow-winged Tree Cricket and sources of information used in this blog (these are the several of the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit Iowa State University Bug Guide, Illinois Natural History Survey, Fontenelle Nature Association NatureSearch, and The Martha's Vineyard Times (Matt Pelikan, October 19, 2016).
The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.
Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!