phylum class subclass • order monotypic order suborder family


Rock-crawlers are slender, flattened, soft-bodied insects. Adults range from 0.6 to 1.4 inches (15 to 35 millimeters) in length. They are mostly brown, while the legs and underside are light brown. The larvae (LAR-vee), or young, form of the animal, which must go through changes in form before becoming an adult, are white, yellowish, or sometimes black. The head is short, with small compound eyes present or absent, depending on species. Their chewing mouthparts point forward. The antennae (an-TEH-nee), or sense organs, are threadlike and made up of twenty-eight to fifty segments. Rock-crawlers never have wings, and all of their legs are long and thin. The abdomen has ten segments, with a pair of long, segmented structures at the tip.


All twenty-seven species of rock-crawlers live in the Northern Hemisphere; they are found in Siberia, northeastern China, Korea, and Japan. Eleven species are known to live in the United States and Canada.


Rock-crawlers are secretive animals that live at elevations between 656 and 10,499 feet (between 200 and 3,200 meters) in mixed forests or in mountains above the highest point where trees can grow, usually near snowfields. They prefer cooler tem peratures, of about 38.7°F to 60°F (3.7°C to 15.5°C), and are found in moist habitats beneath rocks and in crevices (KREH-vuh-ses) in rocky snowfields or inside subterranean lava tubes.

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