King crickets are also known as weta and can be found in a variety of environments including alpine, forests, grasslands, shrub lands and urban gardens. The family is widely distributed across southern hemisphere lands including South America, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. They are night active and many are flightless although several flying species exist in Australia. Their diet is diverse, rarely consisting of leaves, and more commonly a combination of other insects, fungi, dead animals, and fruit.
A small subset of this group of crickets is found in freshwater streams and pools where their strong legs and claws allow them to grip, clamber and swim through a treacherous, slippery environment. Members of the genus Hydrolutos have been sampled from the impressive tepuis, the Venezuelan flat-topped sandstone table mountains. This new species is the first known sampled in lowland streams of Venezuelan Guayana. It was named after Piaroa Amerindians, the original inhabitants of the region of the type locality.
For the experts: Hydrolutos piaroa, a new species of Lutosini (Orthoptera: Anostostomatidae) from Tobogán de la Selva (Puerto Ayacucho region, SW Venezuela) is described and figured. Inhabiting aquatic environment it represents an unusual orthopteran with sternal and pleural area covered by fine microtrichia, forming a plastron. This is the first known Hydrolutos species sampled in lowland streams of Venezuelan Guayana.