Was that a cockroach scurrying across the floor?
Well, it was brown. It had antennas and tiny legs.
So, maybe it was.
Or maybe it wasn’t?
They’re all tiny, creepy-looking insects. Is it hard to differentiate, right? Especially when you are busy running for safety.
Well, it’s not!
All you need is some background and a keen eye.
Read on to figure out if the creepy crawler you witnessed was a cockroach or a cricket.
Cricket vs. Cockroach: Taxonomy
Let’s get the science aside first.
They have long antennae, compound eyes, and a complex, muscular exoskeleton.
Did you know that crickets use their complex eyes, which are made up of many hexagonal lenses, to see in every direction?
Cockroaches, on the other hand, ONLY look similar. They are placed in the Blattodea order. The only other members of Blattodea are termites.
They, too, have six legs, all of the same length, which is used to crawl, run, and sometimes climb.
But none of this information helps, does it?
Maybe you need some visual cues to nail your spotting game.
Differences Between Crickets & Cockroaches
Crickets are often mistaken for cockroaches because we are too lazy to care. But also because they look pretty similar from close quarters.
And at the end of the day, they’re all just insects, right? Unwanted guests hide in dark corners, creating a nuisance when no one’s looking.
However, here are some tell-tale signs that the visitor in your home might be an imposter, not a cockroach.
Cockroaches have flattened and oval-shaped bodies, oily in touch, with a bulging belly, while crickets have a more cylindrical, muscular physique.
Cockroaches have legs roughly equal in length and are usually invisible when observed from the top.
The legs are thinner and segmented, entirely or partially hidden beneath their bodies. On the other hand, a cricket’s legs are longer and easily visible at the joints.
Much like grasshoppers, these modified hind legs aid them in jumping when threatened, reaching 20 to 30 times their height.
Cockroaches’ lifecycle also includes mating, during which they make a big hubbub by flapping their wings, hissing, and displaying their abdomen to attract the female cockroach. Aggressive much?
Crickets are much more docile. The male cricket rubs its front wings together to woo its mate, making a chirping sound.
Presence of Wings
A cricket has visible wings on top of its thorax, or midsection. They have relatively short wings as compared to the rest of their body.
While cockroaches have wings, too, these fold uniformly over their entire body, making them appear a part of the body.
Food and Habitat
A cockroach is highly versatile and can live almost everywhere. However, it thrives in moisture-rich areas, surviving on plants, organic material, and insects.
They also have a lot of natural predators like any other insects.
Crickets mostly prefer grassy areas, lawns, and trees, eating plants and other organic matter.
Cockroaches are inherently shy creatures. They move around wordlessly, making little to no sound. This makes them harder to detect and even harder to eliminate.
Except for the occasional quiet, skittering noise of their legs, a cockroach can never indeed be called an extrovert!
Crickets, on the other hand, are loud, outgoing creatures. They are renowned for their ability to make characteristic sounds.
All of us can vouch that a large, open field at night sounds like a nightclub for crickets. They produce a chirping noise to attract their mate, raise the alarm, and even during combat.
Similarities Between Crickets & Cockroaches
Both crickets and cockroaches range from brown to black. This makes them appear similar at first glance.
They’re both owners of long antennae and possess the power of flight.
And finally, both are irreplaceable contributors to the environment, providing enrichment and germination benefits to the soil and its predators.
The bottom line is that cockroaches and crickets are both visually alike. They both belong to a family of insects and possess similar qualities.
However, it would be a mistake to assume they’re the SAME, considering the vast differences in their everyday habits.
Every insect in the animal kingdom is unique and fulfills a purpose. They’re here for a reason, and it is always advisable to know their characteristics.
This helps us choose between the friendly and the angry, toxic ones and deal with them accordingly.