Jerusalem Cricket—Stenopelmatus— (by mschmidt62 on Flickr)
Jerusalem crickets of the genus Stenopelmatus (Greek for “narrow foot”)bare found in a variety of habitats throughout much of western North and Central America.
They have been dubbed Child of the Earth or Niña del la Tierra in Spanish. The Navajo thought them deadly poisonous and called them “wó se ts´inii,’ or the “skull insect” or “bone neck beetle.” Their powerful jaws are used for digging and chewing roots. Jerusalem crickets can bite with considerable force if handled, but are not poisonous in any way. In California, JCs are known as potato bugs due to their predilection for nibbling on potatoes and other crops in direct contact with the soil. Extensive damage to crops and gardens by these insects is rare. They also occasionally scavenge dead animal matter and may engage in cannibalism. The name “Jerusalem cricket” is believed to have originated in the 19th century when ‘Jerusalem’ was a commonly used as an expletive.
Read more: http://arthurevans.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/backyard-monsters-nope-just-jerusalem-crickets/
Listen to the Jerusalem Cricket: http://www.sdnhm.org/fieldguide/inverts/sten-fus.html