Growth and development parameters for Acheta domesticus


Patton, R.L.

Annals of the Entomological Society of America 71(1): 40-42

1978


The best growth and development of Acheta domesticus in laboratory culture has been attained with an oligidic diet containing 30% protein, approximately 10% of which was from powdered animal liver. A rearing temperature of 32°C gave a life-cycle from egg to adult of 6-7 weeks. Under optimum conditions, adults of 500 mg (mean wt) were produced. There were 10 moults in the course of development. Crowding is a factor, principally in the early stages if the population density exceeds 1 cricket per 2.5 cm2 of crawl space. This is an estimate with 100% safety factor.

Growth
and
Development
Parameters
for
Acheta
domesticus"
R
L.
PATTON
Department
of
Entomology,
Cornell
University,
Ithaca,
N.Y.
14850
ABSTRACT
The
best
growth
and
development
of
Acheta
domesti-
cus
in
laboratory
culture
has
been
attained
with
an
oligidic
diet
containing
30%
protein,
approximately
10%
of
which
is
from
powdered
animal
liver.
A
rearing
tem-
perature
of
32°C
will
give
a
life
cycle
from
egg
to
adult
of
6-7
weeks.
Under
optimum
conditions,
500
-mg
(mean
wt)
crickets
are
produced.
There
are
10
molts
in
the
course
of
development.
Crowding
is
a
factor,
princi-
pally
in
the
early
stages
if
the
population
density
ex-
ceeds
1
cricket
per
2%
cm'
of
crawl
space.
This
is
an
estimate
with
100%
safety
factor.
Acheta
domesticus
(L.)
is
a
cosmopolitan
insect
best
known
in
North
America
from
the
domesticated
strain
raised
by
cricket
farmers
and
in
laboratories.
The
size,
the
short
life
cycle,
the
high
reproductive
potential,
the
immunity
from
disease,
and
the
ready
availability
of
stock
from
cricket
farms
make
this
insect
an
excellent
laboratory
animal.
The
following
is
a
summary
of
selected
data
on
the
growth
and
development
recorded
during
more
than
20
yr
of
laboratory
rearing.
These
data
repre-
sent
performance
standards
that
may
be
expected
with
similar
temperature
and
nutrition.
METHODS
Our
stock
cultures
were
purchased
from
a
cricket
farm
and
renewed
annually
with
the
introduction
of
1000
crickets
of
mixed
age
and
sex.
The
crickets
were
reared
in
containers
made
by
cutting
55
-gal
alcohol
drums
around
the
midline.
The
inside
sur-
faces
were
painted
with
a
gloss
white
enamel
baked
dry
with
infra
red
lamps.
The
crawl surface
was
increased
by
stacking
paper
mache
egg
separators
on
the
bottom
of
each
container
away
from
the
food
and
water.
Our
rearing
temperature
for
the
stock
colonies
was
30°±2°C.
Light
in
the
rearing
room
came
from
fl
uorescent
tubes
with
a
principal
emanation
between
550
and
600
nm.
The
light
-dark
cycles
ranged
from
8-16,16-8,
and
24-0
h.
Smaller
experimental
colonies
were
held
in
polyvinyl
plastic
refrigerator
hydrators
with
screened
air
vents.
These
were
stacked
in
an
incubator
at
32°±1°C.
The
RH
in
the
small
con-
tainers
ranged
between
70-75%.
In
the
rearing
room,
the
humidity
fl
uctuated
with
the
outdoor
ambient
tem-
perature.
Our
only
innovation
in
the
rearing
procedure
was
the
use
of
a
horticultural
potting
soil,
a
mixture
of
equal
parts
of
peat
moss
and
vermiculite,
for
the
oviposition
trays.
This
medium
retained
the
correct
amount
of
moisture
to
protect
the
eggs
during
in-
cubation.
Eggs
were
colletced
from
the
breeding
colony
every
3
days.
Orthoptera:
Gryllidae.
2
A
report
of
research
of
the
Cornell
University
Agricultural
Experiment
Station.
Received
for
publication
Mar.
31,
1977.
40
The
diets
were
formulated
in
the
laboratory
by
mixing
the
dry
ingredients
and
regrinding
in
a
feed
mill.
The
fi
nal
consistency
was
that
of
coarse
fl
our.
When
additives
were
included,
these
were
dissolved
in
appropriate
solvents,
mixed
by
tumbling,
and
the
solvents
removed
by
evaporation.
Data
were
collected
in
several
ways.
For
the
growth
curves,
samples
of
10
crickets
were
drawn
from
the
colonies
at
weekly
intervals
and
the
mean
weights
determined.
For
the
number
of
instars
and
the
effects
of
crowding,
the
entire
colonies
were
photographed
and
the
length
of
individuals
measured
from
enlarged
prints.
The
estimation
of
egg
pro-
duction
and
the
duration
of
oviposition
by
a
female
were
made
by
isolating
a
pair
(male
and
female)
of
penultimate
nymphs
in
a
quart
container.
The
bottom
of
the
container
was
a
slightly
moistened
pad
of
cel-
lucotton
or
multiple
layers
of
facial
tissue.
The
pad
was
changed
daily
and
a
cumulative
count
yielded
the
approximate
total
and
the
daily
count
the
rate
and
duration
of
oviposition.
RESULTS
AND
DISCUSSION
Our
most
consistent
growth
and
development
was
with
Patton's
(1967)
diet
16
which
will
be
referred
to
as
"Optimum."
This
is
a
mixture
of
soybean
meal,
30%;
standard
wheat
middlings,
25%;
powdered
skim
milk,
15%;
corn
meal,
10%;
powdered
brewer's
yeast
10%;
and
powdered
animal
liver
(NF),
10%.
This
contained
a
calculated
30%
protein,
37%
carbo-
hydrate,
and
5%
fat;
and
is
consistent
with
the
observation
of
McFarlane
(1964)
that
this
species
grows
best
on
a
diet
containing
20-30%
protein.
Ac-
cording
to
Bowling
(1955)°,
the
optimum
tempera-
ture
for
rearing
is
35°C.
Our
experimental
colonies
grew
and
developed
at
a
comparable
rate
at
32°C.
Fig.
1
shows
the
growth
from
hatch
to
adult.
The
nymphal
development
lasted
6-7
wk.
The
egg
incuba-
tion
period
was
10-14
days.
Each
female
laid
1200-
1500
eggs.
Oviposition
started
4
or
5
days
after
the
fi
nal
molt
and
continued
for
3
wk.
The
mean
weight
of
78
adult
females
taken
at
random
from
a
Bowling,
C. C.
1955.
The
biology
of
the
house
cricket
Acheta
domesticus.
University
of
Arkansas,
Fayetteville,
M.S.
thesis.
January
1978]
PATTON
:
GROWTH
AND
DEVELOPMENT
OF
Aclieta
41
rg
rg
c.D
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
1
*CHITA
DOMESTICUS—
"Optimum"
growth
32
° t
1
°
C.
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
WEEKS
1.
—The
mean
weight
increase
per
week
of
males
and
females
reared
on
the
"Optimum"
diet
at
32°C.
a
colony
was
552.076
mg
with
SD
=
100.99.
The
range
was
402-816
mg.
For
males
(n
=
55),
the
mean
weight
was
403.5
mg,
SD
=
67.07,
and
the
range
300-509
mg.
There
is
no
significant
change
in
either
the
weight
or
length
between
the
penultimate
nymphs
and
the
adults.
Plotting
mean
lengths
against
time
produces
a
similar
curve.
Fig.
2
is
a
rate
curve
derived
by
plotting
tangents
of
points
on
the
growth
curve.
It
is
quite
apparent
that
ca.
60%
of
the
total
growth
takes
place
between
the
3rd
and
5th
wk
and
the
peak
rate
is
at
4
wk.
This
suggests
that
this
time
period
is
the
best
choice
for
short
term
nutrition
assays.
Superimposed
on
the
growth
rate
curve
(Fig.
2)
is
a
similar
curve
for
feeding
rate.
This
peaks
at
6
wk,
interpreted
as
a
reflection
of
the
increased
feed-
ing
of
females
producing
eggs.
Crowding
has
been
an
unknown
factor
in
growth
and
development
of
this
species.
House
crickets
are
not
territorial,
the
males
do
not
fi
ght,
but
cannibalism
presumably
by
both
sexes
is
common.
To
evaluate
the
effects
of
crowding,
1st
instars
from
the
same
hatch
were
transferred
to
plastic
con-
tainers
in
approximately
a
geometric
progression.
The
crawl
space
was
500
cm'.
With
186
crickets,
the
mortality
at
the
end
of
the
1st
wk
was
18.2%,
the
growth
index
at
maturity
(Gordon,
1959)
was
2.397,
and
the
mean
length
of
the
adults,
17.6
mm.
With
464
crickets
the
same
data
were:
21.1%,
2.269,
and
18
mm;
and
with
751
crickets
33%,
1.09,
and
17.8
mm.
These
data
show
that
there
is
no
real
difference
in
growth
in
terms
of
length
of
the
sur-
viving
crickets, but
there
are
differences
in
the
initial
mortality
and
the
growth
index
which
takes
into
account
both
growth
and
mortality.
The
conclusion
is
that
each
cricket
should
have
2
1
/
2
cm'
of
crawl
space.
The
precise
cause
of
the
higher
mortalities
with
higher
population
densities
remains
unknown.
The
number
of
molts
in
normal
development
has
been
reported
variously
from
6-12.
Nix
and
Bass
(1973)
measured
the
head
capsules
of
"thousands"
of
crickets
and
found
that
the
dimension
fell
into
6
categories.
They
concluded
that
there
are
6
instars.
Bowling
(1955)
3
marked
the
thoraces
of
individ-
uals
and
observed
the
disappearance
of
the
marks.
At
35°C,
he
reported
that
half
of
the
sample
completed
development
with
9
nymphal
instars
and
half
re-
quired
10.
At
29.4°C
(85°F)
he
found
that
more
than*
half
of
the
sample
required
11.
For
our
determination
of
instars,
a
colony
reared
under
the
standardized
conditions
was
photographed
each
day
for
45
days.
Lengths
of
individuals
derived
by
measuring
from
the
photographs
provided
a
mean
length
for
each
day
of
development.
These
daily
means
provided
the
points
for
Fig.
3
which
shows
an
increase
at
ca.
3
day
intervals.
Ten
molts
were
required
to
reach
maturity.
MILLIGRAMS
35
30
25
20
15
10
AC
HETA
Rate
curves
Growth
0-0
Feeding
0---19
32%
1
°
C.
1
2
4
WEEKS
2.
—Rate
curves
for
growth
feeding
(closed
circles).
6
7
(open
circles)
and
42
ANNALS
OF
THE
ENTOMOLOGICAL
SOCIETY
OF
AMERICA
[Vol.
71,
no.
1
35
The
1st
3
instars
can
be
recognized
by
their
cylindrical
shape.
The
abdomens
of
the
4th-instar
nymphs
become
ovoid
and
the
ovipositor
of
the
fe-
male
begins
to
show
with
the
5th
instar.
Subsequent
development
of
the
females
can
be
estimated
by
the
ovipositor
length,
but
there
is
no
obvious
criterion
to
distinguish
the
development
of
the
males.
It
has
not
been
determined
if
nutrition
as
well
as
tempera-
ture
is
a
factor
in
the
number
of
instars.
The
combination
of
the
diet,
a
rearing
temperature
of
32°C,
and
a
population
density
not
greater
than
1
cricket/2
1/2
cm'
of
crawl
space
yielded
our
best
re-
sults;
however,
most
laboratory
colonies
are
fed
kibbled
dog
meal,
chick
(broiler)
mash,
rabbit
pellets,
or
where
available,
a
commercial
cricket
feed.
All
of
these
are
variants
of
formulae
designed
for
verte-
brate
nutrition
and
all
contain
ingredients
not
re-
quired
by
insects.
The
growth
performance
that
may
MILLIMETERS
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
AC
I
HETA—
growth
'Optimum'
32
° *
1
°
C.
I
Daily
by
instars
diet
10
duff
8
6
7
3
4
1
7
7
14
21
28
DAYS
3.
—The
daily
increase
in
length
of
cricket
nymphs
showing
increases
(molts)
at
ca.
3
-day
intervals.
42
49
MILLIGRAMS
700
600
500
400
300
200
100
I
ACHETA—Growth
with
Cricket
Chick
Dog
Rabbit
I
commercial
feed
mash
food
Pe
feeds
0-0
et
---05
fio--Q
lets
(0--0
i
_,..,
cx
i
,..0-
--
..Cr
-
i
/
i
/
I
,
i
/
_
4
e
0
2
3
4
WEEKS
5
6
FIG.
4.
—The
growth
of
crickets
fed
various
commer-
cial
feeds.
The
broken
-line
curve
is
the
"Optimum"
in-
cluded
for
comparison.
be
expected
with
these
diets
does
not
vary
greatly
one
from
the
other,
but
the
means
are
below
the
lower
limit
of
the
weight
expected
from
a
population
fed
"Optimum."
The
avg
adult
cricket
fed
a
corn-
merical
diet
will
weigh
300-350
mg.
Chick
mash,
if
it
can
be
obtained
without
coccidiostats,
is
the
least
expensive
and
gives
the
best
results.
REFERENCES
CITED
Gordon,
H.
T.
1959.
Minimal
nutritional
require-
ments
of
the
German
roach,
Blattella
germanica
L.
Ann.
N.Y.
Acad.
Sci.
77:
290-351.
McFarlane,
J.
E.
1964.
The
protein
requirements
of
the
house
cricket,
Acheta
donesticus
(L.).
Can.
J.
Zool.
42:
645-7.
Nix,
P.
M.,
and
M.
H.
Bass.
1973.
Biological
and
toxicological
notes
on
the
house
cricket.
Agric.
Exp.
Stn.,
Auburn
University,
Leaflet
86,
4
pp.
Patton,
R.
L.
1967.
Oligidic
diets
for
Acheta
domesti-
cus.
Ann.
Entomol.
Soc.
Am.
60:
1238-42.