Notes on Rearing Tropical House Crickets (Gryllodes sigillatus)

Do you use G. sigillatus as a feeder cricket?

  • Yes! They are good feeders.

    Votes: 4 40.0%
  • Tried and didn't like them.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, but I am interested.

    Votes: 5 50.0%
  • No, I am fine with roaches/other feeders.

    Votes: 1 10.0%

  • Total voters
    10

LawnShrimp

Arachnoangel
Joined
Dec 9, 2016
Messages
907
Hello! This is my first post here, so I should introduce myself. Ever since I was little, I have enjoyed watching and catching arthropods of all kinds. I have had considerable success raising local species of insect, such as giant silkmoths, mantids, and a raggedy old house centipede. Anyway, I've decided that I understand enough about them to start my own collection of exotic inverts. I decided to start with the basics: feeder crickets.

Description:
Gryllodes sigillatus is a species of small, brown cricket with two dark bands across its thorax. Adult females have no wings, while males have half-length wings. They are commonly marketed as an alternative to Acheta domesticus, the common house cricket, due to the former's ability to withstand cricket paralysis virus. Gryllodes has several other benefits, such as quieter chirping and less odor. They also are less prone to cannibalism and never bite one another, although they will eat one of their dead kin. Males are only moderately aggressive towards one another and neither sex bites. However, they do have several downsides: they are fairly smaller and much more active than Acheta, jumping much further and running faster. If one gets away, there is little chance of recovering it, provided it is not on a smooth surface. Gryllodes does not fare well on smooth surfaces, often scrambling to get traction where Acheta would walk away. Due to their tropical nature, Gryllodes does best in warm places about 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius) or above. They can handle much lower temperatures but this slows growing drastically.
Feeding:
Gryllodes is a fairly herbivorous species, preferring fresh and long-dead plant matter. I have seen mine eat spinach, Romaine lettuce, carrots, dead oak, maple, and cherry leaves, as well as sprouts of grass that grew in their tank. The crickets will eat dead leaves regardless of any other food source present; perhaps it is a dietary requirement. I also feed them potato scraps, and they absolutely love mushrooms of all kinds. They will eat small pieces of nuts and seeds, as well as food scraps from carnivorous inverts and even eggshells for calcium and protein.
Housing:
Similar to common house crickets, Gryllodes requires moist but not moldy bedding with plenty of bark or stone hiding spots to hide under. These crickets are very photosensitive and will not tolerate light, always running for cover. After a few minutes of light, they will creep out but remain very wary. Dead leaves are must as they consume theme, and live plants are optional but pointless; the crickets will eat these too.
They can be kept in any sort of container that retains moisture. I have mine in a plastic shoebox with a single airhole poked at the center of the lid. This traps moisture and any odors, while still letting the crickets breathe.
Breeding:
No trouble here; the crickets do everything on their own. They will readily lay in almost anything, but a peat/coco fiber mix works best. Eggs are elongated and translucent yellow, about two millimeters or less in length, sometimes laid in clumps. They hatch quickly in optimal temperatures but take longer when cooler.
Other Notes:
These are one of my favorite crickets. They have a quiet, musical chirp and require minimal care. I found these at a non-commercial pet store, where I had previously bought Acheta crickets for feeding a mantis. They had replaced the species between my visits, and immediately recognized them as Gryllodes.
What are your experiences with this cricket? How do you like it as a feeder?
Am I doing something wrong and need suggestions?
Feel free to answer below!

~Shrimp
 

KevinsWither

Arachnodemon
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
671
This cricket often occurs in my home, so I know what they are. I was thinking of keeping all sorts of crickets as I had interest in crickets before 2nd grade, but now I kind of want to find a few and keep them.
 

LawnShrimp

Arachnoangel
Joined
Dec 9, 2016
Messages
907
These are the kind of cricket where if you catch a male and a female, you will soon have several dozen. I live in the Northern Hemisphere of the U.S. so the only place I'd find Gryllodes (or any interesting invert) would be at a pet shop if the trade laws hadn't banned it. Good luck with your crickets.
 

Introvertebrate

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 18, 2010
Messages
798
These are the kind of cricket where if you catch a male and a female, you will soon have several dozen. I live in the Northern Hemisphere of the U.S. so the only place I'd find Gryllodes (or any interesting invert) would be at a pet shop if the trade laws hadn't banned it. Good luck with your crickets.
Gryllodes is banned? Ghann's sells them.
 

LawnShrimp

Arachnoangel
Joined
Dec 9, 2016
Messages
907
Sorry, I was exaggerating. The restrictions on inverts are hated by everybody from the U.S. on these boards, even though they are for our protection. I have heard that Gryllodes are spreading in Florida and Arizona, so maybe some restrictions there?
 

LawnShrimp

Arachnoangel
Joined
Dec 9, 2016
Messages
907
Update:
Adult crickets have all died and were fed to my compost isopods. I bought a few more nymphs, which are nearing their final instar, but unfortunately the hatchlings from the adults have mostly died. On discovering this, I converted their container into an isopod habitat (Armadillidium vulgare, Sepia A. nasatum, Yellow Mottle Porcellio scaber). I churned up the soil quite well to mix it with dead leaves and peat moss, placed dead leaves down, and added some old wood. Then, just today, I noticed three white cricket nymphs scuttling over the isopods. The crickets appear to all be recent hatches, probably from eggs that did not hatch the first time. Gryllodes is really quite resilient.
 

Ranitomeya

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
250
Gryllodes are resistant, but not immune to the virus. They'll last a while longer with only their saltatory hind legs paralyzed than Acheta that seem to die very soon after symptoms occur.
 

LawnShrimp

Arachnoangel
Joined
Dec 9, 2016
Messages
907
Ah. News to me. However, every time I've tried to breed the Acheta crickets they've all died. All of my Gryllodes deaths have been to other inverts or old age.
 
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