Field Cricket

(Gryllus campestris)




Facts about this animal

The field cricket (Gryllus campestris) is a very popular insect well known from the fable “The Ant and the Cricket” but hardly ever seen by modern city-dwellers. Body size ranges from 19 to 23 mm in males and from 17 to 22 mm in females. It has a black body and wings that resemble intricate wrought iron work. The wing colour is dark black/brown, with a yellow base and black raised veins. A modified area of veins on the male's wings, known as the 'harp', enables it to produce the 'song' that is used to attract a female.

Field crickets are flightless. They live on short, warm, grasslands which have between 10 and 50 % bare ground. The males dige a burrow at the base of a grass tussock with a bare platform at the entrance from which they attract females with their 'song'. The females locate singing males by crawling across the ground to them. After mating, either inside or outside the burrow, the female lays her eggs in areas of bare ground receiving a lot of sunlight. Young cricket nymphs hatch in July and August, and grow rapidly. In early autumn a hibernation burrow is dug and the nymph spends the winter here.

Field crickets feed on various seeds, other plant material, or insects (dead or alive). They will even practice cannibalism they are very hungry.

Did you know?
that the fable "The ant and the cricket" was written by the Greek poet Aesop more than 2500 years ago? In the fable the cricket depicts lazy, careless people who indulge in foolish pastimes, and therefore lose out.


Name (Scientific) Gryllus campestris
Name (English) Field Cricket
Name (French) Grillon champètre
Name (German) Feldgrille
Name (Spanish) Grillo campestre
Local names Croatian: Sturak poljski
Czech: Cvrcek polní
Danish: Markfårekylling
Dutch: Zwarte veldkrekel
Estonian: Maakilk
Finnish: Kenttäsirkka
Hungarian: Mezei tücsök
Italian: Grillo campestre
Norwegian: Marksiriss
Polish: Swierszcz polny
Portuguese: Grilo-do-campo
Slovenian: Poljski muren
Swedish: Fältsyrsa
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Roberto Zanon



Range Europe, North Africa, Western Asia
Habitat Dry grassland, fields and pastures
Wild population Unknown, but declining in some parts of its range because of changes to habitat
Zoo population 7 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo

Field Cricket


How this animal should be transported

For air transport of adult individuals, Container Note 62 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Roberto Zanon

Why do zoos keep this animal

The field cricket is well known, but very few urbanized people have ever seen one in the wild. Zoos therefore keep crickets for educational reasons. In many places, including the United Kingdom, the species has undergone severe declines due to changing agricultural practices. Zoos therefore engage also in conservation breeding with a view of reintroducing the species to suitable sites.