Ceuthophilus latensBlack-sided Camel Cricket

Geographic Range

Ceuthophilus latens, the black-sided camel cricket, is native to the Nearctic region. It is found in the eastern part of the United States, with a range potentially extending as far west as Texas or Nebraska. It is particularly common in New England and the Midwest. (Ellis, 1913; Morse, 1919; Rehn and Hebard, 1916; Scudder, 1894; Strohecker, 1937)


Ceuthophilus latens lives in temperate regions. It usually is found under flat rocks and logs, typically in marginal and open areas of deciduous forests. It also has been reported as common in dune forests, particularly old succession areas on dunes that are farther inland. (Hubbell, 1922; Morse, 1919; Strohecker, 1937; Turner, 1915)

Physical Description

Like all camel crickets, Ceuthophilus latens has an arched back, long legs, long antennae, and lacks wings. This species exhibits slight sexual dimorphism, with females usually a few millimeters longer in length. Males have an average body length of 14.5 mm, while females have an average body length of 16 mm. Antennae are three times as long as the body, ranging from 44 to 52 mm in length. The body is a light yellowish-brown or beige color, while some individuals are a darker orange-brown. On each side of a broad pale dorsal line on its back is a dark brown band. The legs are the same beige color as the body, with dark brown spots usually arranged in rows. The hind femora are significantly longer than the body. One distinguishing feature of this species is the spines on the hind tibia, which are black at the base. Ceuthophilus latens resembles Ceuthophilus lapidicola, but C. latens has more robust caudal femora, and the supra-anal plate differs between the species. Ceuthophilus latens nymphs have the same markings as adults, but are smaller in size. Eggs are 2.3 mm in length, oval shaped, semi-translucent and soft at first, but later the shell hardens and becomes white. (Lavoie, et al., 2007; Rehn and Hebard, 1916; Scudder, 1894; Turner, 1915; Woodward, 1911)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • female larger
  • Range length
    14.5 to 16 mm
    0.57 to 0.63 in


Ceuthophilus latens is hemimetabolous. There is little information about development that is specific to C. latens, but as in other Rhaphidophoridae species, eggs are laid underground and hatch after several days or weeks. Nymphs that resemble adults emerge from the soil and develop into sexually mature adults. (Lavoie, et al., 2007)


Mating takes place at night. Ceuthophilus latens males and females find each other only through random movements. Individuals do not seem to notice other crickets until they come into direct contact. If the antennae of two potential mates touch, the individuals will briefly “fence” and hit their antennae together. Males can identify females once a part of the female body comes into contact with the male antennae or palps. To initiate mating, a male backs toward a female and put his cerci underneath her abdomen. He clasps and unclasps his cerci, apparently trying to lift her abdomen above the ground. If the female does not immediately lift her abdomen, the male will crawl all over her body, feeling with his antennae, mouthparts, and cerci. He also vibrates his antennae. Females do not play an active role in courtship; they either mate or walk away. If a female walks out of reach of the male’s antennae, he will stop pursuing her. If the female wishes to mate, she lifts her abdomen and the male inverts his posterior end and clasps the posterior end of the female. Copulation lasts 2 to 12 minutes, during which both males and females remain relatively inactive. The male passes spermatozoa to the female. Mating pairs often have been observed mating a second time within a few seconds to a few minutes later. Mating also occurs between periods of oviposition. (Turner, 1915)

Ceuthophilus latens is polygynandrous, with both males and females mating with many individuals. Males rarely mate with the same female twice, while females often allow males to mate one right after another. If a non-mating male comes upon a mating pair pre-copulation, the males may fight briefly by springing at each other and knocking forelegs. If a non-mating male approaches a mating pair during copulation, the male will defend his mate, even dragging the female along to do so. Males have been observed trying to mate with other male crickets, and occasionally even with dead females that have not yet stiffened. Ceuthophilus latens females are known to practice sexual cannibalism on males. A female sometimes will eat the head of her mate while the male is still alive. This likely occurs when the female is hungry and the male mate is particularly weak. One study showed that all C. latens males had died within two weeks of copulation, while the females in the study continued to thrive. In another study, the bodies of males left with large groups of females were later found to be shells with the soft parts eaten away. (Turner, 1915)

To oviposit, females bury the posterior end of their abdomen in the ground to lay their eggs beneath the soil or sand. Females lay 2 to 5 eggs at each oviposition site, and may lay eggs at several sites, though the total number of eggs laid remains unknown. It is estimated that one female can lay up to 30 eggs, which are scattered in groups at different locations. Females die several days after their final oviposition. (Lavoie, et al., 2007; Turner, 1915)

  • Breeding interval
    Black-sided camel crickets can breed repeatedly after reaching sexual maturity.
  • Breeding season
    Breeding occurs in the late summer.
  • Range eggs per season
    2 to 30

Ceuthophilus latens likely provisions its eggs, but provides no further parental care. Because females die shortly after their final oviposition, and most males die after mating, the parents are not alive by the time their eggs hatch. (Turner, 1915)

  • Parental Investment
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female


Little information is available about the lifespan of Ceuthophilus latens, but the adults are most common in July and August. Because males usually die shortly after mating, and females die a few days after their last oviposition, black-sided camel crickets probably live for about 2 to 3 months during the summer. (Hubbell, 1922; Morse, 1919; Turner, 1915)

  • Typical lifespan
    Status: wild
    2 to 3 months


Ceuthophilus latens is nocturnal. It is rarely active during the day, but even at night, these crickets remain quite inactive relative to other Orthoptera. Ceuthophilus latens actively avoids light by staying under stones and logs, and will seek cover quickly when exposed to light. To do so, C. latens crawls quickly or jumps several feet. In addition to adult females cannibalizing male mates, C. latens also cannibalizes its nymphs. Females have been observed eating nymphs and mates even in the presence of other food sources. Like all members of Rhaphidophoridae, C. latens is wingless and cannot fly. Some Rhaphidophoridae species gather in large groups in houses and other buildings; it is possible that C. latens occasionally assembles in large groups, though it is likely that, most of the time, C. latens is either solitary or lives in small groups. (Lavoie, et al., 2007; Scudder, 1894; Turner, 1915; Zungoli and Benson, 1999)

Home Range

Because Ceuthophilus latens cannot fly, it likely does not move far away from the areas containing flat rocks and logs under which it lives. (Lavoie, et al., 2007; Scudder, 1894; Turner, 1915)

Communication and Perception

For Ceuthophilus latens, antennae and palps seem to be the primary sensory organs and the primary means of communication between individuals. While looking for mates, males and females interact only if their antennae or other body parts come into contact. If a female does not immediately respond to his mating attempt, a male uses his palps and mouthparts to feel along her body parts. He also vibrates his antennae. If a female moves out of reach of the male antennae during mating, the male will stop pursuing the female. Ceuthophilus latens also finds food using its antennae and palps, likely through a combination of olfaction and physical contact. Ceuthophilus latens does not seem to have strong eyesight; nonetheless, C. latens is sensitive to light. Studies have shown that C. latens moves away from a light that shines in its eyes, but not if the light shines on any other part of its body. Though its eyes are well developed, C. latens does not rely on them, and the crickets do not acknowledge each other unless they come into physical contact. Unlike many Orthoptera, C. latens has no special organ for producing or receiving sound, suggesting that sound does not play a role in attracting mates or other forms of communication. Ceuthophilus latens is also sensitive to air currents. (Lavoie, et al., 2007; Turner, 1915)

Food Habits

Although little information is available about the diet of Ceuthophilus latens specifically, camel crickets generally are known to be scavengers of organic material. Camel crickets consume organic matter that is decaying, such as mushrooms, dead insects, fruits, and flowers. Ceuthophilus latens females also have been known to cannibalize male mates and nymphs, even when other food sources are available. (Lavoie, et al., 2007; Turner, 1915)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects
  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • fruit
  • flowers


While little information specific to Ceuthophilus latens is available regarding predation, many birds are known to prey on other species of camel crickets. Bird species that live in deciduous forests in the eastern part of the United States likely prey on C. latens. Rodents, salamanders, arthropods such as spiders, and freshwater fish prey on other Ceuthophilus species, and these animals probably prey on Ceuthophilus latens, as well. Like all camel crickets, C. latens can jump several feet to escape from predators. (Bakkegard, 2007; Cochran, 2007; Kleintjes and Dahlsten, 1994; Lavoie, et al., 2007; Turner, 1915)

Ecosystem Roles

Ceuthophilus latens is prey to many animal species, such as birds, rodents, spiders, salamanders, and fish. Ceuthophilus latens also can serve as a host to Gregarina longiducta, a parasitic protozoa. The parasite is found in the intestines and occasionally the alimentary canal of black-sided camel crickets. Cysts of the protozoa are transmitted in feces. Because camel crickets mainly eat organic matter and part of their diet consists of decaying matter, Ceuthophilus latens likely plays a small role in biodegradation. (Bakkegard, 2007; Cochran, 2007; Ellis, 1913; Kleintjes and Dahlsten, 1994; Lavoie, et al., 2007)

Commensal/Parasitic Species
  • parasitic protozoa: Gregarina longiducta

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

There are no known positive effects of Ceuthophilus latens on humans.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Many species of camel crickets can be household pests, assembling in large numbers in damp areas such as basements or crawl spaces. They can cause damage to houseplants and fabrics. While no reports mention Ceuthophilus latens in the context of infestations, it is possible that C. latens could be a household pest in some cases. (Zungoli and Benson, 1999)

  • Negative Impacts
  • household pest

Conservation Status

Ceuthophilus latens has no special conservation status.


Angela Miner (author), Animal Diversity Web Staff, Elizabeth Wason (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff, Leila Siciliano Martina (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


helps break down and decompose dead plants and/or animals


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

desert or dunes

in deserts low (less than 30 cm per year) and unpredictable rainfall results in landscapes dominated by plants and animals adapted to aridity. Vegetation is typically sparse, though spectacular blooms may occur following rain. Deserts can be cold or warm and daily temperates typically fluctuate. In dune areas vegetation is also sparse and conditions are dry. This is because sand does not hold water well so little is available to plants. In dunes near seas and oceans this is compounded by the influence of salt in the air and soil. Salt limits the ability of plants to take up water through their roots.


an animal that mainly eats decomposed plants and/or animals


particles of organic material from dead and decomposing organisms. Detritus is the result of the activity of decomposers (organisms that decompose organic material).


animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


union of egg and spermatozoan


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body


A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


active during the night


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.


chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species


the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.


specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


remains in the same area


offspring are all produced in a single group (litter, clutch, etc.), after which the parent usually dies. Semelparous organisms often only live through a single season/year (or other periodic change in conditions) but may live for many seasons. In both cases reproduction occurs as a single investment of energy in offspring, with no future chance for investment in reproduction.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


uses touch to communicate


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


Living on the ground.


movements of a hard surface that are produced by animals as signals to others


Bakkegard, K. 2007. Interactions between the Red Hills salamander and its potential invertebrate prey. Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science, 78/1: 1-12.

Cochran, P. 2007. Secondary predation on the horsehair worm Gordius robustus (Nematomorpha : Gordiida). Great Lakes Entomologist, 40/1-2: 80-83.

Ellis, M. 1913. Gregarines from some Michigan Orthoptera. Zoologischer Anzeiger, 43: 78-84.

Hubbell, T. 1922. The Dermaptera and Orthoptera of Berrien County, Michigan. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan.

Kleintjes, P., D. Dahlsten. 1994. Foraging Behavior and Nestling Diet of Chestnut-Backed Chickadees in Monterey Pine. The Condor, 96/3: 647-653.

Lavoie, K., K. Helf, T. Poulson. 2007. The Biology and Ecology of North American Cave Crickets. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, 69/1: 114-134. Accessed June 10, 2013 at http://www.caves.org/pub/journal/PDF/v69/cave-69-01-114.pdf.

Morse, A. 1919. A list of the Orthoptera of New England. Psyche, 26: 21-38.

Rehn, J., M. Hebard. 1916. Studies in the Dermaptera and Orthoptera of the Coastal Plain and Piedmont Region of the Southeastern United States. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 68/2: 87-316. Accessed June 10, 2013 at http://www.jstor.org/stable/4063692.

Scudder, S. 1894. The North American Ceuthophili. Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 30: 17-113. Accessed June 10, 2013 at http://www.jstor.org/stable/20020583.

Strohecker, H. 1937. An ecological study of some Orthoptera of the Chicago area. Ecological Society of America, 18/2: 231-250.

Turner, C. 1915. Breeding habits of Ceuthophilus latens, the camel cricket. Bulletin of the Wisconsin Natural History Society, 13: 32-41.

Woodward, A. 1911. The Orthoptera collected at Douglas Lake, Michigan, in 1910. Michigan Academy of Science, 13: 146-167.

Zungoli, P., E. Benson. 1999. "Camel Crickets" (On-line). Clemson University. Accessed May 29, 2013 at http://www.clemson.edu/cafls/departments/esps/factsheets/household_structural/camel_crickets_hs21.html.