Today we’re sharing update #3 for our scientific research paper-in-progress about camel crickets. Over the last year, 150+ households have reported observations and uploaded photos of the ‘sprickets’ they’ve found in homes, sheds and garages. With your help, we’re documenting the distribution of camel cricket species – including a very common, but poorly studied non-native species — across North America.

The map above shows the collection of photo observations or physical specimens through time (Apologies to our friends in Saskatchewan who made observations, but don’t show up on the map; we know you are there!).

Blue dots represent our oldest reports, collected from the start of our project in February 2012 through the release of the first draft of the camel cricket paper on September 26, 2013.

Yellow dots indicate reports that came in between the first and second drafts (September 26 – October 17, 2013)

Red dots indicate the most recent reports, collected between October 17, 2013 and January 2, 2014.

Here are some highlights since our last update:

  • Welcome District of Columbia! New observation of the non-native Diestrammena in the Nation’s capital.
  • Just 2 new reports of the native Ceuthophilus: one from North Carolina in a house that also had Diestrammena and one from Kansas.
  • Many new observations of Diestrammena asynamora across the eastern US, providing more conclusive evidence that the non-native Diestrammena is more abundant in the eastern states’ houses compared to the natives.

Did you submit a camel cricket photo and are left scratching your head about why your dot is not on the map?

Dr. Mary Jane Epps, who is leading the charge on the Camel Cricket Census, tells me that we had to exclude some submitted observations for a few reasons:

1)   You forgot to upload a photograph – OOPS!

2)   You shared a photo of some critter that was NOT a camel cricket. An occasional field cricket tricked a few of you into thinking they were camel crickets.

3)   We couldn’t positively identify the genus of the camel cricket from your photo – i.e., it was out of focus, too dark, not showing the hind legs, etc.  This last one was the most common reason why we had to exclude some data. A word to the wise: camel crickets get a little more photogenic if you cool them down for a while in the fridge before taking their pic.

Thanks to everyone who has participated in the Camel Cricket Census so far. Keep those observations coming! And please revisit the manuscript – particularly the Results, figures and tables. Comment, suggest new analyses — Remember, we want to hear from you!