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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Please help me identify this bug

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Question
Bug
Bug  
My friend found this bug sitting on a wall in front of our townhouse. She was morbidly fascinated by how big it was. I couldn't identify it (I'm a truck driver not an entomologist), so I took a picture of it for later identification. We live in Southern California. If you can help me figure out what it is I would be very grateful. Thank you in advance for taking the time out of your day to read and answer my question. (there's nothing in the picture for a size reference, but the insect was about the length of a house key; maybe slightly longer)

Joe

Answer
Hi Joe,

Great photo! Thanks for the question.

That is a Potato Bug, also called a Jerusalem Cricket. They are not from Jerusalem, so their common name is misleading. They are in the genus Stenopelmatus. They are not poisonous, and don't often bite (although they CAN bite because they have very strong mandibles).

Best,
Jessica

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jessica Mellinger

Expertise

I can answer questions about invertebrates native to California, including insects commonly found in homes. If you have an identification request, please attach a photo to your question.

Experience

I was involved in collection and identification of invertebrates for the United States Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division for six years. Also, I provided these same services intermittently for the UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment for many years. I have been a member of AllExperts.com since 2009.

Organizations
Department of the Interior: United States Geological Survey, Davis Field Station; University of California, Davis Aggie Alumni Association; UC Davis Center for Neuroscience; U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs

Education/Credentials
I have two B.A.'s from the University of California, Davis and two Associate's degrees from Sacramento City College.

Awards and Honors
Special Thanks for Achieving Results award from the Department of the Interior

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