Plants and Animals

Oecanthus laricis Tamarack tree cricket

species photo
David Cuthrell
species photo
David Cuthrell
species photo
David Cuthrell

Key Characteristics

The tamarack tree cricket is a long, narrow cricket with a dark, brownish-green, slightly flattened body; a brown, flattened, horizontal head; and slender brown hind legs. The head and pronotum (dorsal plate behind the head) may also have black markings, and the tegmina (thickened, leathery front wings) are less than 12 mm long.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G3? - Vulnerable (inexact)
State Rank: S3 - Vulnerable


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Allegan 1 2000
Barry 9 2019
Berrien 1 2005
Branch 2 2019
Calhoun 1 2005
Cass 2 2000
Clinton 1 1999
Eaton 1 2005
Hillsdale 1 2000
Ingham 2 1999
Jackson 9 2017
Kalamazoo 4 2022
Kent 1
Lapeer 1 2000
Lenawee 1 1999
Livingston 4 2017
Oakland 9 2011
St. Joseph 1 2000
Van Buren 1 2008
Washtenaw 4 2008

Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


The tamarack tree cricket inhabits dense to open tamarack swamps and fens with trees of medium height (6 to 13 meters) in Michigan and Ohio. Occurs in both large intact wetland complexes as well as smaller, disturbed sites.

Natural Community Types

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Management Recommendations

Maintain and restore sensitive prairie fen and tamarack swamp habitat. Avoid draining, filling, and other hydrologic alteration. Avoid cutting tamarack, but cutting/girdling associated shade-tolerant species such as red maple may be appropriate if tamaracks are being shaded out. Apply prescribed fire conservatively.

Active Period

Active from first week of August to second week of September

Survey Methods

Species occurs on upper branches of tamarack where they blend in with foliage. Sweep net tamarack foliage aggressively as high up on tree as possible. May also detect by song (usually mainly heard at evening and night), a slow trill with occasional interruptions.

Sweep net

Survey Period: From first week of August to second week of September

Time of Day: Morning (after sunrise)

Time of Day: Evening


Survey References

  • Borror, D.J. and R.E. White. 1970. A Field Guide to the Insects of North America and Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 404pp.
  • Martin, J.E.H. 1977. The Insects and Arachnids of Canada (Part 1): Collecting, preparing, and preserving insects, mites, and spiders. Publication 1643. Biosystematics Research Institute, Ottawa.

Technical References

  • Bland, R.G. 2003. The Orthoptera of Michigan: Biology, Keys, and Descriptions of Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets. Michigan State University Extension, East Lansing. Extension Bulletin E-2815. 220pp.
  • Dunn, G.A. 1999. Insects of the Great Lakes Region. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. 324pp.