What is it?

I was working in my backyard this weekend, when I turned over a rock and discovered this creepy-crawly. Anyone have an idea what it is? I wasn't about to mess with it. Looked like it had a stinger on its tail.

Update: Thanks to Robin Bobcat for identifying it as a Jerusalem Cricket. According to the San Diego Natural History Museum: "this nocturnal cricket is actually non-aggressive and possesses no poison glands, although its jaws can inflict a painful bite." Even if it's non-poisonous, I'm glad I stayed away from it. And it's still out there in my backyard somewhere.

Animals Science

Posted on Sun Jun 29, 2008


I think that it's a type of cricket.
Posted by Tony  on  Sun Jun 29, 2008  at  06:24 PM
THAT is a Jerusalem Cricket. Totally harmless, but big and scary lookin', ain't they?

They're considered pure gold for high school biology students out working on a bug case.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  in  Californian Wierdo  on  Sun Jun 29, 2008  at  06:26 PM
If you were in New Zealand, I'd suggest it was some form of Weta - but I'd have to say it's something similar in the Cricket-style family...
Posted by Goofycabal  in  New Zealand  on  Sun Jun 29, 2008  at  06:28 PM
Robin beat me to the punch: it's a Jerusalem Cricket. They don't sting, but their bite hurts, so don't go poking at them. Don't hurt them, though. They eat decaying matter and help break it down into better soil. One tends to find them (as you did) under rocks and stacked wood, in piles of leaves and compost, and pretty much anywhere cool, dark, and damp with rotting stuff handy.
Posted by Fnord  on  Sun Jun 29, 2008  at  07:13 PM
even knowing what it is now, doesn't make it any the less strange of a critter,
Posted by Diogenes  on  Sun Jun 29, 2008  at  08:47 PM
This is completely not normal, but that scares the mess out of me!
Posted by JT  on  Sun Jun 29, 2008  at  10:10 PM
And one more thing: if you saw a "stinger" in its tail, then the cricket is a female. Stingers are just a modified form of the oviposter (egg laying organ, common to insects), so only females have them. In the case of your cricket, what you saw was her oviposter (as crickets do not have stingers and are not venomous like bees and wasps.)
Posted by Andy  on  Mon Jun 30, 2008  at  12:08 AM
What Andy is trying to say, is stop looking at the lady's naughty bits, you perv.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  in  Californian Wierdo  on  Mon Jun 30, 2008  at  12:48 AM
Looks sorta like a Zanti Misfit to me.
Posted by Blondin  on  Mon Jun 30, 2008  at  08:45 AM
I've always known them as Potato Bugs. These are the only insects that actually make me cringe! They terrified me as a child.
Posted by DC  on  Mon Jun 30, 2008  at  12:36 PM
Can I have it?
Some of my fish would love to eat that thing.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Mon Jun 30, 2008  at  06:55 PM
Aw, it's so cute.
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Tue Jul 01, 2008  at  03:59 PM
I agree with Sakano. I have always thought they are one of the cutest looking of all bugs...but I have never had the guts to pick one up. I especially like their eyes.
Posted by Friend of Crickets  on  Tue Jul 01, 2008  at  10:26 PM
I saw one of those about 9 years ago when I lived in Pomona. Its identity had been haunting me until today! Well, I'm sure glad to know that it wasn't an underground elf, or some sort of tiny alien plotting to take over the world. Thanks for solving the mystery.
Posted by Roland  on  Wed Jul 02, 2008  at  05:20 PM
:cheese: I'm sure glad DC in Los Angeles called it a Potato Bug because when I was a child (in L.A.!), my mother told us that's what this creature was. We didn't get near enough to let it bite so I wouldn't know about the pain.
Posted by Marjorie  on  Sat Jul 05, 2008  at  12:35 PM
Wow that thing is quite scary! When i moved from the city out to the woods, I experienced a year or two of new insect discoveries, most of them terrifying (giant hairy spiders that give a little resistance as you step on them).
Posted by dave  on  Mon Jul 07, 2008  at  06:20 PM
That cricket is cute compared to a mole cricket I once found years ago in MS. That cricket was so ugly that my mom refused to let me bring it in the house. I told her there was no way that big ugly bug could escape the tiny holes I punched in a jar's lid. She was so freaked she demanded I take it to school the next day and give it to my science teacher. My teacher said it were rare and was glad to get it. LOL

Since moving to NM, I have heard all kind of (bad) stories about this bug. Despite what the locals say, I really don't think it looks like a human fetus. :(
Posted by Thebes  on  Tue Jul 15, 2008  at  01:28 PM
I looked up the mole cricket too, and I actually think it's also cute. I mean, I probably wouldn't enjoy seeing one in person. But I love it's little digging "claws."
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Tue Jul 15, 2008  at  01:34 PM
Oh God! I wonder if mole crickets bite too! Gee, ignorance is bliss... LOL
Posted by Thebes  on  Tue Jul 15, 2008  at  01:57 PM
In Mexico this animal is named Cara de Ni
Posted by Titti  on  Sat Aug 09, 2008  at  08:25 PM
Sorry, it still just looks like a bug to me. :/
Posted by Thebes  on  Sun Aug 10, 2008  at  12:30 PM
"It's still out in my backyard somewhere."

Alex, I'm so glad you didn't kill it! I hate senseless bug murder.
Posted by Sarah  on  Wed Oct 08, 2008  at  06:12 PM
Ifound one of those recenetly in my back yard,it has a nasty appeareance, I keep it in a plastic box,if some one is interested in getting the dead insect please contact me.
Posted by Fern  on  Thu May 28, 2009  at  09:21 PM
Lovely beautiful content. Love to read this article & It is well done that I was working in my backyard this weekend. Thanks for sharing. 😊
Posted by Michael Jason  on  Fri Feb 18, 2011  at  09:35 PM
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