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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Anostostomatidae (weta, Parktown prawn)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Phylum: Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Polyneoptera > Anartioptera > Orthopterida > Orthoptera > Ensifera > Stenopelmatoidea

Distribution includes southern North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Nine genera and 42 species are native to southern Africa, most of them endemic.

The members of this family used to be placed in either the families Stenopelmatidae (king crickets), Henicidae or Mimnermidae. The most well-known species in South Africa is the 'Parktown prawn' Libanasidus vittatus which is commonly encountered in people's homes in Johannesburg. Members of the genus Henicus are almost entirely limited to the Western and Eastern Cape and investigations by Peter Johns (from New Zealand) have shown that there are many undescribed species and that the species of this genus tend to be highly endemic with relatively small distributions.

Genera native to southern Africa

List from Orthoptera Species File.


One species, Bochus puncticeps, endemic to southern Africa.



Two species, one recorded from Angola and the other, Borborothis opaca, is endemic to southern Africa.


Five species, occurring mainly on Madagascar but one species, Brachyporus berlandi, native to southern Africa.



Nine species, occurring in Africa south of the Sahara, with six species native to southern Africa (mainly Western Cape).


Six species, two occur in East Africa and the other four are endemic to southern Africa.



Two species, Libanasidus impicta and Libanasidus vittatus (Parktown prawn), endemic to southern Africa.



Fourteen species, native to Africa south of the Sahara, but mainly southern Africa where there are 11 species.


Eight species, native to Africa south of the Sahara, but mainly southern Africa where there are six species.



Ten species, endemic to southern Africa.


  • Eades DC, Otte D, Cigliano MM, Braun H. Orthoptera Species File. Version 5.0/5.0. [retrieved 31 July 2013].
  • Field, L.H. (ed.) 2001. The Biology of Wetas, King Crickets and their Allies. CABI Publishing, Wallingford.