Dr. Susan Gershman’s lab studies the evolution of insect behavior. Dr. Gershman is currently studying how native Gryllus pennsylvanicus Fall field crickets interact with recently introduced Velarifictorus micado Japanese burrowing crickets.

This year, Dr. Gershman’s lab examined how native and introduced crickets respond to prairie fire. Field crickets lay their eggs in the soil. We were interested in studying the effect of prairie fire on native an introduced cricket eggs. Before the Yoder prairie’s annual prairie burn on October 8, 2022, we collected cricket eggs of both species in pots of soil and buried them in either scheduled burn zones or areas that were not scheduled for burn. Surprisingly, we found that both species can survive prairie burns! We are now measuring the effect of having survived a burn as an egg on adult crickets.

Before the burn:

During the burn:


After the burn:

7 months later, alive!


If you see these pavers in the fall, our lab is using them to collect field crickets. Thank you for not moving them!