Camel Crickets could outnumber humans in US. Camel crickets, once a native to Asia is now widespread in Eastern US. Camel Crickets have been quietly colonizing US and the scientific community has largely ignored these critters. However a citizen science project which was released on September 2 reveals that it could outnumber humans in the US. One of the worrying aspects is that today the Asian variety of crickets outnumbers the native variety in the US.
The study was started when a cricket taxonomist working with the North Carolina State University found an invasive camel cricket in the home of a fellow researcher. Camel crickets have an arched back and long hind legs. The native in US is the thick-bodied and a mottled brown in color crickets while the invasive species from Asia became established in the US in 19th century. It was once dubbed as the Greenhouse Cricket because they were found rarely outside the green house. It had banded pattern on its leg and is much slimmer than the native ones.
The researchers turned to US public to provide photos and physical specimens of camel crickets living in and around US. The citizens were also asked to fill out surveys with details based on their own sightings. A majority of the observation was made to the east of Mississippi River.The Asian camel crickets seemed to be much more common than native crickets.The Asian camel crickets was present in 92 percent of households that submitted camel cricket samples. The researchers concluded that the total number of camel crickets could exceed 700 millions in the eastern US.
Study leader Mary Jane Epps, a postdoctoral researcher at NC State, said in a statement “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 driving out native camel cricket species in homes.”
It can be hoped that the invasion of the Asian Camel Cricket will not repeat the same story as the South American Bees .These bees were accidentally released in the US by an entomologist and it multiplied to outnumber the native bees. South American Bees are much more aggressive than the native ones and led to a huge spurt in swarm attacks in the US.