Giant Slender-Legged Cave Cricket

Ceuthophilus gracilipes gracilipes

(Photo provided by Alan Jeon is of a similar subspecies)

Mixed nymphs: $10/each ( Contact for availability )
Starter colony (12 mixed nymphs): $80 ( Contact for availability )

Detailed Species Stats -Click-

  • Adult Size: 45 mm (body); 100 mm (legspan).
  • Care Level: Intermediate.
  • Temperature Requirements: 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Air Humidity: Moist with ventilation.
  • Substrate Humidity: Moist.
  • Favorite Foods: Not picky.
  • Locality: Currently being researched.

Read the Collection Story Here! -Click-

After a bumpy ride to Florida and some setbacks including a flat tire, driving winds, and finger lightning, it was finally time to gear up and go on a night time hunt for bugs. As we entered the woods, familiar figures greeted us; Cariblatta crawled up the trees and Parcoblatta froze in our headlamps. Alan and I had stopped to admire a mating pair of Virginia wood roaches, and I continued observing them while annotating and recording. Alan had decided to check the other side of the tree, which was clearly a good choice; the next thing I heard was a stuttering mix of “WHOOOAA!”s and “WHAAA?”s. Satchell soon chimed in with a “What in God’s name…”. I directed my attention to where all the headlamps were convening; sitting comfortably on the side of the log was the largest cave cricket I had ever seen. Easily over 90 millimeters long (not including the antennae), the monster has forever wrecked my view of the smaller, diminutive cave crickets I had encountered in Michigan. It was not the first of its kind to greet us that night; many others soon followed, some smaller and some even larger. Out of fifteen or so individuals I collected, only seven or so survived the week-long road trip through the rest of Florida and all the way back up here to the frigid north. However, once they had adjusted to their new enclosure, the species bred steadily. In fact, though many adults died suspiciously prematurely (most likely due to parasites remaining in their system from the wild), one female that was collected as an adult during the trip survived an additional six months despite losing both of her back legs. Her offspring were the captive ambassadors for this novel and freakishly impressive species. Unfortunately I eventually lost this strain for a number of reasons, but luckily Alan was able to catch and share some of the nominate subspecies, which is what’s currently available. I intend to head back to the original collection spot soon to re-establish this special variety.

The slender-legged cave cricket ranges through the southern and eastern US.  Its sprawling gait and long, stiff antennae give it excellent tactile senses. Nymphs of this species will accumulate on vertical pieces of bark, and they will bunch together so closely that they appear to be one homogenous blob of legs, bodies and antennae. Cannibalism has not been a problem with this species, with all life stages cohabitating happily. Handling is a unique experience: adults will casually perch on hands but will spring several feet away if disturbed. The stock currently offered is a browner, slightly less leggy subspecies than previously offered.