Cricket Behavior

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Updated on Mar 18, 2013

You may have heard crickets chirping outside of your house. What is it about your home that they like so much? Something must be attracting them. In this experiment, we’ll be looking at what crickets like and dislike.

Problem:

What environments and types of food do crickets prefer?

Materials:

• 2 Clear, 2-liter Bottles
• 10 Crickets
• Funnel
• Towel
• Apple Slice
• Beef Jerky
• Notebook
• Timer
• Pen
• Marker
• Scissors
• Duct Tape
• Needle

Procedure

1. Cut the bottoms off of the 2 bottles. Leave the bottle caps on the bottles.
2. Place the crickets in one of the plastic bottles.
3. Tape the open bottoms of the bottles together.
4. Make sure that the crickets can breathe by making some small holes in the bottles with a needle. Also, make sure that there are no holes that the crickets can escape from.
5. Use the marker to draw a line at the middle of the 2 bottles.
6. Mark one side as side A and the other as side B.
7. Wrap the towel around side A, making sure no light gets into this side.
8. Set the timer for 10 minutes.
9. Which side do you think the crickets will prefer? Do you think they’ll like the darkness more than the light? Use this time to write your guess, also called a hypothesis, in your notebook.
10. Count how many crickets are on each side after the time has passed.
11. Record the numbers in your notebook.
12. Take the towel off the bottle.
13. Put the apple slice in side A.
14. Put the beef jerky in side B.
15. Set the timer for 10 minutes.
16. Which side do you think the crickets will prefer? Do crickets normally have meat in their diets? Think about these questions in order to form your hypothesis. Write down your hypothesis in your notebook.
17. Count how many crickets are on each side after the ten minutes have passed.
18. Record the numbers in your notebook.

Results:

In the darkness vs. light test, a majority of the crickets should have moved to the dark side of your habitat. In the fruit vs. meat test, a majority of the crickets should have moved to the side containing the fruit.

Why?

Not all crickets prefer darkness, but house and field crickets do. Darkness tends to create a moister environment. Sunlight causes evaporation, leading to a more arid environment. Research has shown that crickets are drawn to humidity, which is an abundance of water vapor in the air. Crickets aren’t skilled hunters like the praying mantis, and although crickets themselves are very high in protein, crickets don’t tend to eat meat—they prefer to eat decaying plant material. What would happen if you mixed insects? How about mixing darkness and fruit? This experiment can be altered in countless ways to answer new questions—just use your creativity!