Orthoptera of North Carolina
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View Gryllidae Members: NC Records

Cycloptilum tardum Love & Walker, 1979 - Slow-chirp Scaly Cricket


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Taxonomy
Family: Gryllidae Subfamily: Mogoplistinae Tribe: Mogoplistini
Comments: One of sixteen species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Love and Walker, 1979), four of which have been recorded in North Carolina. Cycloptilum tardum belongs to the Bidens Complex of the Squamosum Species Group of Love and Walker (1979).
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: SINA, Google ImagesTechnical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Love and Walker (1979)SINA 454a.htm                                                                                  
Comments: A very small, mottled brown Scaly Cricket. The general color is light reddish brown but the scales are blackish or dark gray, producing a mottled appearance overall, especially in unworn individuals (Hebard, 1931). While members of the Bidens Species Group are easily distinguished from C. trigonipalpum and slossoni based on structural features (see below), and by a distinctive brown blotch located on the outer edge of the wins in the males, members of this group are themselves probably indistinguishable based on coloration or markings in general. Instead, they are best distinguished by the songs of the male, although there are at least some structural differences that distinguish females of bidens from the other species in this complex (Love and Walker, 1979).
Total Length [body plus wings; excludes ovipositor]: 5.4 mm, male holotype; 5.1 mm, female allotype (Love and Walker, 1979)
Structural Features: This species is smaller and wider-bodied -- especially at the middle of the body, near the end of the pronotum -- than either trigonipalpum or slossoni. The wings of the males extend by nearly a third of their length beyond the end of the pronotum, whereas in the other two species the wings are completely covered by the pronotum. Males of the Bidens Species Group may be only distinguishable based on their songs (see below). Females may not be distinguishable from C. velox or possbily C. pigrum, but possess an apical spike on the subgenital plate that separates them from females of C. bidens (Love and Walker, 1979).
Singing Behavior: Songs of the Squamosum Species Group, including the Bidens Complex, characteristically consist of chirps composed of two pulses, with each chirp spaced far enough apart to count individually (Love and Walker, 1979). The main differences separating the species in this group are the number of chirps given per second: at 77 F (25 C), tardum produces about 2.3 chirps per second, which is slower than bidens and velox but faster than pigrum (see Figures 32 and 50 in Love and Walker) The dominant frequency is just above 6 kHz at 77 F for all of these species.
Recording playback at normal speed.

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Nymphal Stages and Development: Undescribed
Distribution in North Carolina
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Adult Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

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Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Love and Walker (1979) describe the habitat as poorly drained and frequently burned, including flatwoods dominated by Slash Pine or Longleaf Pine and with a dense shrubby understory. Our one confirmed record comes from Moore County in the Fall-line Sandhills, but the exact location and habitat present at that site are not given. Our records for singing males all come from dry-xeric sandhill woodlands and scrublands.
Diet: Unrecorded but probably omnivorous
Observation Methods: Members of this species group live either on the ground or in dense ground cover and are hard to observe directly. Singing males are the easiest to detect and to identify. Spectrograms or waveforms should be used to determine the rate of chirping.
Abundance/Frequency: Too little information exists to estimate the frequency of occurrence or abundance of this species in North Carolina
Adult Phenology: Singing males have been recorded in October
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: [W3]
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: [GNR] [SU]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: This species is possibly a specialist on wet Longleaf Pine habitats, but we have too few documented records for this species -- especially given the uncertainty of all records for this species outside of Florida -- to be sure about anything with regard to its biology. More surveys need to be conducted to determine the taxonomic identity, distribution, abundance, and habitat affinities of this species before its conservation status can be determined.

Image Gallery for Cycloptilum tardum - Slow-chirp Scaly Cricket

Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan
Scotland Co.
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