It's time for the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & ...

It's time for the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & ...

It's time for the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

I don't think there's a single harmless insect that elicits quite as much raw, seething hatred as the cave cricket (family Rhaphidophoridae). Also known as camel crickets, camelback crickets, and spider crickets (among other names), these little guys are perfectly harmless, yet people absolutely despise them. Maybe it's the long antennae, or the spider-like appearance, or the fact that they tend to invade basements, or the way they jump around erratically; whatever the reason, cave crickets ain't winning any popularity contests!

There are more than 1,100 different species of cave cricket, all of which are flightless and nocturnal. They generally live inside caves, animal burrows, or under rocks and logs. Unfortunately for us humans, our basements, bathrooms, and laundry rooms often provide the dark, damp conditions that these little guys love. Since many species of cave cricket are adapted to underground environments where food is scarce, our homes tend to offer up plenty of food (they're scavengers that eat plant, animal, and fungi material), thus allowing cave crickets to thrive.

Cave crickets have poor eyesight, which is the reason they have such long antennae; they navigate mostly by touch. Their sudden, erratic jumping is an adaptation to scare off predators. They're completely harmless, so jumping around is their only defense! They may not be beloved, but cave crickets are nothing to worry about.

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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