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Mole Cricket

I always get mixed reactions when I post pictures of creepy-crawlies.  Some of you are quite squeamish! 🙂   I must admit, I am not particularly brave with critters that have six legs, especially if they’re the jumping, flying, leaping-about kind, but I do think they have as much right to be here as anyone else does, and they are all quite fascinating in their own way.  Creepy, but fascinating.

Take, for example, Mr Mole Cricket.  A fairly ugly son-of-a-gun, let’s face it.  But look at those little moley-mole front legs!  They use them for burrowing, of course, and do so in gardens across Western Australia (but they are found all over the world).  They have a loud, shrill song which many people confuse with the chirping of frogs.  The males even make special burrows to amplify their song, to attract the ladeez.

One of the more unattractive traits that mole crickets posses is that they can (and quite happily do) squirt a stinky brown fluid at potential predators.  If you’ve ever dealt with anal glands of any species (and I have, having been a vet nurse for ten years in my younger days) you want to avoid this happening.  Don’t pick up a mole cricket unless you have to.  And I really don’t know why you would ever HAVE to.

They’re not very jumpy so they don’t tend to leap out or suddenly land on you while you’re minding your own business.  They are, by all accounts, pretty pathetic at jumping.  Which makes other crickets and grasshoppers look scornfully at them and snub them at parties.  These guys are not winning any popularity contests or prizes for athleticism.

They are a reasonably large insect – this one I photographed was about 5-6cm long – and can cause damage to people’s lawns, with their constant burrowing.  They eat roots and leaf matter, and some are also predatory, consuming grubs and worms and other squishy delicacies.  I apologise I don’t know which type this one was…I’m gonna go ahead and say he was a vegetarian.  He was also sitting on a bike path so he may well have become quite squishy himself shortly.  I wasn’t going to move him…y’know, the anal gland thing.

I see lots of different critters on my walks.  Mr Moley is probably not the prettiest of them all, but he deserves a spot in my blog as much as a beautiful swan or dainty duck.

Hope I didn’t freak you out too much 🙂

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