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Crickets of the family Gryllidae are insects related to bush crickets and more distantly to grasshoppers. The Gryllidae have mainly cylindrical bodies round heads and long antennae. Behind the head is a smooth robust pronotum. The abdomen ends in a pair of long cerci females have a long cylindrical ovipositor. The hind legs have enlarged femora providing power for jumping. The front wings are adapted as tough leathery elytra and some chirp by rubbing parts of these together. The hind wings are membranous and folded when not in use for flight many species however are flightless. The largest members of the family are the bull Brachytrupes which are up to 5 cm long.
More than 900 species of crickets are described the Gryllidae are distributed all around the world except or higher with the greatest diversity being in the tropics. They occur in varied habitats from grassland bushes and forests to marshes beaches and caves. Crickets are mainly nocturnal and are best known for the loud persistent chirping song of males trying to attract females although some species are mute. The singing species have good hearing via the tympani on the tibiae of the front legs.
Crickets often appear as characters in literature. The Talking features in Carlo Collodi's 1883 children's book The Adventures of Pinocchio and in films based on the book. The eponymous insect is central to Hearth as is the chirping insect. Crickets are celebrated in poems by William Wordsworth John Keats and Du Fu. They are kept as pets in countries from China to Europe sometimes for fighting. Crickets are efficient at converting their food into body mass making them a candidate for food production. They are used as food in Southeast Asia where they are sold deep-fried in markets as snacks. They are also used to feed carnivorous pets and zoo animals. In Brazilian folklore crickets feature as omens of various events.
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