They Are The Most Harmless, Innocent Creatures In The World.

[Every now and then we receive very special messages from folks who have read our blog, found our research or just share the same curiosity for life’s under appreciated creatures.

Thank you, G, you know who you are. Keep them coming. 

From the Your Wild Life mailbag:]

I Was Just Reading An Article About Camel Crickets On The Internet.
This Article Encourages People (such as myself) Who Have Had Them In Their Home To Share Their Experiences.

As It Just So Happens, I Have Had Them In My Basement For Years.

There Is Plenty I Could Tell You About Them.

For Now, Let Me Just Say That […]

By | May 13th, 2016|Camel Crickets|2 Comments

The Arthropods of San Francisco (and beyond)

What’s that crawling under your bed… sitting in your light fixture… lurking in your cabinets? Perhaps it’s a new insect species! The Arthropods of Our Homes project has expanded beyond Raleigh — to San Francisco, and from there all seven continents will be sampled for the common arthropods in homes. Watch the video to see more about the arthropods found in San Francisco homes as well as some familiar faces (Matt Bertone and Michelle Trautwein).

“Other than a few pest species, we know very little. There’s still a lot to discover… You don’t have to be an […]

Camel Cricket Poetry

The mail room of a science building is always an interesting place. We receive email notices like, “Your slime mold has arrived!” and “Live crickets in the mail room, no name.” And some days, our mail room is full of beautiful little dead bugs carefully packaged and sent special, just for us. Sometimes the mail room is full of poetry.

Today I opened a package containing both and I had to share [an excerpt]:

On more than one occasion, 
I have briefly observed them in what looked like 
predatory behavior, 
 
all occurring in the middle of […]

By | December 2nd, 2014|Behind the Scenes, Camel Crickets|2 Comments

Citizen Scientists Make Important Discovery about Camel Crickets

Grad Student Too Busy, Annoyed to Care about Giant Bugs in Basement

In graduate school, I rented a house with a few fellow students on a quiet, tree-lined street close to our university. To be quite honest, we spent very little social time together in this house. Most of our days, nights and weekends were spent in the lab, in the field, or in our offices, toiling away on our graduate research. We came home to sleep, grab a quick bite to eat, and maybe do a load of laundry.

In fact, when I think about the years that I lived […]

By | September 2nd, 2014|Camel Crickets|102 Comments

Wowing Washington with Wild Life!

Last weekend (April 25-27, 2014), we took our wild brand of citizen science on the road to Washington, DC, to participate in the USA Science and Engineering Festival, the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and math in the country.

We enjoyed meeting and engaging 325,000 students, teachers, parents and enthusiastic science enthusiasts in conversations about the biodiversity in their daily lives — from camel crickets in their basements to the ants in their backyards. Drs. Roland Kays and Stephanie Schuttler added some “backbone” to our exhibit by sharing awesome camera trap photos of backyard […]

Your Wild Life Heads to Washington!

This weekend (April 25-27, 2014), hundreds of thousands of students and science enthusiasts will swarm the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the Nation’s Capital for the USA Science & Engineering Festival.

Your Wild Life will join over 700 other exhibitors for 3-days of non-stop science awesomeness that include thousands of hands-on activities and over a hundred different stage shows (including performances by our friend, Science Comedian Brian Malow).

Come find us in the NSF & Friends Pavilion (Exhibit Hall A, Booth 423) – Meet and greet the ants and camel crickets that call your backyard and […]

The Future of Discovery

In March 2014, Rob spoke at TEDxSantaCruz, explaining how much we don’t know about the species living on us, in us and around us – the life, large and small, inhabiting our belly buttons, our foreheads, our homes, our backyards.

He shared the approach we’re taking at Your Wild Life (and in our new Students Discover education initiative) to harness the power of the public – via citizen science – to make real discoveries about these species with whom we share our daily lives.

To quote his final thought in the talk, “We can see more together than we can […]

Camel Cricket Census Update

Today we’re sharing update #3 for our scientific research paper-in-progress about camel crickets. Over the last year, 150+ households have reported observations and uploaded photos of the ‘sprickets’ they’ve found in homes, sheds and garages. With your help, we’re documenting the distribution of camel cricket species – including a very common, but poorly studied non-native species — across North America.

The map above shows the collection of photo observations or physical specimens through time (Apologies to our friends in Saskatchewan who made observations, but don’t show up on the map; we know you are there!).

Blue […]

By | January 28th, 2014|Camel Crickets|0 Comments

Spricket Sketch

Our citizen scientists are really the best around, hands down. You are such a thoughtful and creative bunch.

We so appreciate the love notes, holiday mix CDs and other special prizes that have accompanied your sample submissions and observations about the biodiversity in your daily life.

Most recently, we were delighted and surprised while reviewing the latest batch of camel cricket observations.

Rather than uploading a photo, visual artist Suzanne Stryk of southwestern Virginia submitted the lovely sketch above.

She reports:

I’ve seen these crickets in our basement since we moved in this house in 1987.  I rather like them, […]

By | December 24th, 2013|Camel Crickets, Your Wild Life Team|0 Comments

Looking ahead to 2014 — We want to hear from YOU!

Time sure flies when we’re having fun, doesn’t it? With 2013 winding down, we think it’s a good time to pause and take stock of where we’ve been this last year.

A few highlights:

  • We’ve sent hundreds, nay thousands (!), of swabs off to Colorado for DNA sequencing to identify the tiny organisms living on the surfaces of homes. Noah Fierer recently shared an exciting update about those analyses:

We’re now […]

Camel Cricket Manuscript, Take 2

Today we share with you Draft 2 of our scientific research paper about camel crickets based on the data that YOU have helped us collect.

At the end of September we unveiled our new Camel Cricket Census website and called on you to help us document the spread of the ‘spricket,’ basement to basement in homes across North America.

We requested more photos of both the native and introduced species and you responded enthusiastically. We’ve received over 70 new reports in the last couple weeks!

We encourage you to revisit the revised manuscript (based on data submitted […]

By | October 16th, 2013|Camel Crickets|2 Comments

Citizen Scientists Document the Spread of Giant Cricket, Basement to Basement

05camel cricketIt is an animal the size of a pinky finger. It hops wildly, blindly out of the dark.  And still, somehow, it has moved unstudied basement to basement across North America, the yeti in our midst. It is the Asian Camel Cricket (Diestrammena asynamora).

In previous work with citizens, we very accidentally discovered that this cricket had spread much more than we (or perhaps anyone) suspected. It appears to have spread primarily indoors, though it’s also being found outdoors as it hops away from houses to find, well, we […]

By | September 27th, 2013|Books, Camel Crickets, Participate, Projects|44 Comments

Too Big to Be Noticed: Camel Cricket Manuscript

So we’ve started writing our first scientific research paper about camel crickets based on the data YOU have helped us collect to date.

And we’re doing it a highly unusual way; that is, unusual for the way things typically work in science. Would you expect anything less than unusual from the same people who’ve asked you to swab your belly button or scrape your face for science?

We’re sharing our camel cricket manuscript with you before it hits the scientific literature, before it’s been peer-reviewed, before we have all the data.

Why? We want YOU to be part of this whole process. […]

By | September 26th, 2013|Camel Crickets|9 Comments

Season o’ Sprickets!

Calling all eagle-eyed observers of wild life. Get ye too to your basements, crawl spaces, sheds, garages and other dark, damp corners of your home — We want you to join us on the hunt for camel crickets!

We’re received a few reports from the field that native camel crickets (genus Ceuthophilus) have been spotted within the last week in a kitchen in Mt. Airy, NC, and a home in Cambridge, MA.

To date, the vast majority of folks responding to our request for photos have submitted […]

By | July 23rd, 2012|Camel Crickets, News, Projects|52 Comments