Orocharis saltator Uhler 1864.
Jumping Bush Cricket

This "bush cricket" may be moving north.  In August Dave Marshall and Kathy Hill noticed it singing in Willimantic, Storrs, and Middletown, Connecticut.  In 1969, Dr. Thomas J. Walker, of the University of Florida, Gainesville, wrote a paper on the systematics and acoustic behavior of the genus Orocharis and included range maps for the various species.  At that time, Orocharis saltator had only been collected as far north as northern New Jersey, over a hundred miles southwest of the 2009 Storrs record.

This species sings from shrubs or on trees at varying heights. Its song is distinctive, a bright trill lasting about 1/4 of a second, repeated once every second or two (for crickets, these measurements depend heavily on temperature).  Dave and Kathy collected one (pictured) from a tangle of shrubs and vines in Storrs, and kept it for about 2 weeks before releasing it back in its tree (it ate oatmeal and sung happily in captivity after a few days of initial silence).  As of November 10th at least one could still be heard singing in Storrs and Willimantic.

Like many birds, singing insects can be especially useful tools for tracking shifts in faunal distributions, since their songs are loud and (usually) species-specific.

For more information, including playable songs (and better pictures) see the following page at Dr. Walker's excellent Singing Insects of North America website:


The link below will download a PDF copy of Walker's 1969 paper on the genus.

Walker 1969 PDF

Below is a photo of the male collected in Storrs.


Please send "Bug of the Month" ideas to Dave Marshall at pterophylla [at] yahoo.com

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