Monday, September 17, 2007

Crickets, Katydids, Sawyers, and Cullbaits

Tree cricket

These tree crickets are usually moving too fast for me to snap an in-focus picture, but yesterday's cool temperatures helped me out. Crickets, katydids, sawyers, and cullbaits are Hammons family names for the singing insects of late fall. Pocahontas County katydids and (field) crickets are the same insects that commonly go by those names, but I haven't been able to find out what sawyers and culbaits are--perhaps this is one of them. The first calls of the cullbait tell the ethnoentomologist that it will be six weeks until first frost. If only we knew what it was.

Locally, people call the cicadas "pharaohs," pronounced as in gospel songs, "fay-roe." That's what the insects are calling out. Where I grew up, we called cicadas "locusts." Interesting idea, the plague insects themselves calling the Pharaoh's name.


Reya Mellicker said...

That is interesting, the whole post but especially the fay-roe calls of the locusts. Wow.

How do crickets know when the first frost will come. They are so entwined with the whole of nature, I guess.

I can't predict today's weather accurately, let alone what's coming up in six weeks. In this way, I envy the cullbaits.

Rebecca Clayton said...

The frosts are fatal to lots of summer insects, so weather prediction is really kind of grim for them, I think.

Reya Mellicker said...

I bet they're more accepting of the cycles than we humans are.

That's just a theory of course.

Charlie said...

Found a similar cricket in Bristol, CT, while camping at Bear Creek Campground. Looked it up and found it to be a "two-spotted tree cricket - Neoxabea bipunctata

Regards, Charlie​