Camel Crickets (Cave Crickets)

About 150 species in North America north of Mexico


Camel cricket (cave cricket)
Camel crickets and cave crickets are odd-looking, hump-backed insects that are commonly found in caves, basements, cellars, and similar places.
Shelly Cox

Rhaphidophoridae (cave or camel crickets) in the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, katydids, crickets)


Camel crickets and cave crickets are odd-looking, hump-backed insects that are commonly found in caves, basements, cellars, and similar places. They are generally tan, reddish brown, or dark brown, but they may appear black in the dark environments where they are found. They have a hump-backed appearance, long antennae, and large hind legs. These crickets are wingless and lack the ability to fly or chirp. They can jump a surprisingly long distance.


Length: to about 1 inch (not including appendages).

Habitat and conservation

Camel and cave crickets are associated with moist, cool habitats such as basements, caves, cellars, under logs, and so on. They may also be found in greenhouses. These crickets are almost entirely nocturnal, and their long antennae and other appendages allow them to feel their way in the dark.


Adults and nymphs feed on organic debris, insects, and other small arthropods.

image of Camel Crickets Cave Crickets Distribution Map
Distribution in Missouri



Common. These are abundant crickets and may live in buildings. Because of their long legs and antennae, they are sometimes called "spider crickets." Their peculiar body shape has given them the common names "camel cricket" and "humpback cricket."

Life cycle

Nymphs look like miniature versions of their parents. Inside buildings it is unlikely they will breed or reproduce, unless perfect conditions exist, such as proper darkness and moisture. If these crickets are infesting your basement, it could mean you have a moisture problem that should be addressed.

Human connections

Although they commonly invade basements, these crickets are completely harmless and are of no economic importance. They are capable of becoming a nuisance in greenhouses and may occasionally have to be controlled with pesticides.

Ecosystem connections

Camel crickets are food for many animals. They are capable of moving in and out of caves and can serve a key role in bringing organic materials, in the form of their bodies, into those nutrient-poor environments. Thus they help provide a basis for the food web inside caves.