The African Armoured Ground Cricket (Acanthoplus discoidalis) is an insect belonging to the subfamily Hetrodinae – armoured ground crickets – in the family Tettigoniidae – bush crickets or katydids. It is an insect.
The African Armoured Ground Cricket is sandy-brown to camouflage with the earth. Its abdomen is dark-brown and snail-like with armour, and its thorax has a speckled brown plate of armour. On the thorax plate are tough spikes or spines. It has 6 light-brown jointed legs from its thorax. Its head is round and brown with a pair of pink-brown antennae.
The armour is an exo-skeleton (an outer skeleton) to protect the cricket.
It grows to about 4 centimetres (1.5 inches) long.
Bush crickets are found in Europe and Central Asia. The African Armoured Ground Cricket is found in sub-Saharan Africa. The photographed cricket was found in Tsavo East National Park in Kenya. It prefers dry habitats.
In the breeding season, the male cricket makes a loud courtship chirping sound, called stridulation. Stridulation occurs when the file or comb (with tough ridges) rubs against the plectrum, which vibrates to make a chirping sound. Females do not make the chirping noise.
It is omnivorous, eating leaves, flowers, bark, seeds, and insects. It has strong jaws to bite through food.
Females lay their oval-shaped eggs beneath the soil or in plant stems. The eggs hatch into nymphs, which look like small versions of the adult cricket. The nymphs molt their armour as they grow.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM