Camel crickets have been ignored for decades by the scientist, research groups and even common man, considering them to be just an insect. But the alarming rising in their population may pose some threat to the society and people in the US, at least as far as convenience is concerned.
The researchers at the North Carolina State University have found that their population now outnumbers the domestic variety in the United States.
According to the study, an invasive species of cricket is replacing domestic crickets in the eastern US. The researchers said that the Asian camel crickets, scientifically known as Diestrammena asynamora, are making stronghold in the US homes, especially in the basements, cellars and garages.
The scientists don’t know much about the threats posed by these insects, including that on the humans but as of now they hardly have any.
“The good news is that camel crickets don’t bite or pose any kind of threat to humans,” study author Mary Jane Epps, a postdoctoral researcher at North Carolina State University, said in a statement.
The camel crickets were particularly found in yard areas close to people’s homes.
These varieties of Asian camel crickets or greenhouse camel crickets were first discovered at commercial greenhouses in the United States in the 19th century.
These voracious insects share a unique feature of eating their parts themselves. Researchers say the insects can eat almost anything, ranging from fungus to animal droppings and last but not the least even their own legs.
The study on cricket was not planned and was just a chance encounter. A cricket taxonomist saw an invasive camel cricket at the home of one of the researchers of NC State. This was when they decided to explore more about these insects in the US. They carried out a survey as a part of their new citizen science network project and asked people to report their sightings or encounter with camel crickets in their homes, neighbours or yards. The people were also asked to mail in photos or physical specimens of the cricket species.
The researchers came out with surprising figures as over 90 percent of respondents said they had encountered the the greenhouse camel cricket, species of Asian native.
The survey showed that this Asian species of cricket was more common than the native camel crickets. They were commonly found in and near homes, east of the Mississippi.
“We don’t know what kind of impact this species has on local ecosystems though it’s possible that the greenhouse camel cricket could be displacing native camel cricket species in homes,” Epps said.
The researchers, however, stressed that these scary looking insects may do some good for the humans than doing bad as they are scavengers and may provide an important service in our basements or garages by eating the dead stuff accumulated within.
The study was published in the journal PeerJ.