Mormon Cricket, a large, wingless long-horned grasshopper of the western United States. The insect is a serious pest, often causing great damage to range grasses, wheat, and alfalfa. The adult insect, dark brown or black, is about two inches (5 cm) long. The female has a long ovipositor (egg-laying organ) with which she inserts single eggs into the ground. Each female lays about 150 eggs in late summer or fall. The young hatch the following April and mature in about two months. They are usually controlled by spreading poisoned bran.
In 1848, a year after the Mormons arrived in Utah, the insects threatened to ruin their first crops. Large flocks of gulls suddenly appeared and devoured the insects. Seagull Monument in Temple Square, Salt Lake City, commemorates the event.
The Mormon cricket is Anabrus simplex of the long-horned grasshopper family, Tettigoniidae.