Tag Archives: mole cricket

So, what were they?

14 Sep
Goliath Stick insect

Goliath Stick insect

Australia’s largest Phasmid (leaf/stick insect), this baby can top out at 25cm (9+ inches!).  The females are larger than the males and although they have wings, they’re not very useful, unlike the males. Perhaps the coolest fact about these creatures is that the female doesn’t even need a male to have babies; a type of reproduction called Parthenogenesis (from the Greek parthenos, meaning ‘virgin’ and genesis, meaning ‘birth’.)  All eggs, however, will hatch into female clones of the mother, whereas if she were to mate with a male, the offspring can be male or female.

Mole cricket

Mole cricket

So, although when I first saw one of these I thought it was in fact my worst nightmare…it is simply a mole cricket.  In the same family as your average cricket, this guy looks more like an alien cousin.  And if you can actually get past its creepiness and hold one (which I have) you’ll be simply delighted to find out that those strong little paws (more like hands, if you ask me) are quite strong and they will persist in trying to dig free. Or they may just give you a quick little (harmless) bite. Fun.

African Cave spider

African Cave spider

Okay, I admit, even being a spider-lover, this guy could easily be categorized under ‘Worst Nightmare’.  Even more so when you watch Fear Factor and people actually had to eat them…alive.  Not enough money in the world…

eating spider

Anyway, this African Cave dweller can range from 7.6-60 cm (that’s 3-23.6 inches) in size and its pedipalps (one of the second pair of appendages near the mouth of a spider or other arachnid that are modified for various reproductive,predatory, or sensory functions. – thefreedictionary.com) act like those of a mantis and help them to grab and hold onto prey.  But here’s the clincher-they don’t have any venomous fangs and are harmless to humans.  Which is why people do this…

Cavespider06

Next, is this little anomaly…

So, here’s what I’ve discovered on this little guy; it may or may not be a leafhopper, it may or may not be a shield bug.  Nymph? Adult? The site I found this on had no further information and when I went to research it, I couldn’t find much.  So, this will be one for either my insect friends to help on (wink, wink) or I’ll have to put in some late nights at the library.

To be continued…

Now, I know most of you will think that this is a totally Photoshopped image of a spider but how do you know spiders don’t have great teeth close up?  The answer to this one is, clearly, the look my friends give me when I say I like spiders.

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What is it?

11 Jun

 One thing I’ve noticed since moving to Australia, is that when you ask someone what something is, if they know, they are more than happy to tell you. I’ve also noticed that even if they don’t know, they’ll still give you an answer.  (I could be talking mainly about my husband here)

Now, when I first saw this bug, many years ago, I assumed it was an alien of some sort.  Truly, what bug has hands??? Well, this one does.

mole-cricket1  Even as a lover of all that is creepy and crawly, this bug grossed me out a bit.  It was hiding underneath the rug outside of the shower and decided to make an entrance when I stepped out.  And besides when a bee buzzes around my face, this was one of the few times I screamed and ran like a little girl.  I mean, come on! They look weird!

But after asking some people what it was, I was told it was called, da da dummmmm…

The Australian Toe Biter.

But here’s the rub…it’s not.  This guy is actually a mole cricket.  (Makes sense now, doesn’t it?) And unlike the ‘toe biter’ (which is actually just a colloquial term) these guys are quite harmless.  Now, you’ll probably read or hear that they can bite, and if you are brave enough to hold one, it may feel that they do.  But as my friend Asti and I found out, when you hold them, they use those tiny little mole hands of theirs to try to dig their way out.  But they do not bite.

Mole crickets are like other crickets in that they stridulate (rub the combs on their legs together), they mate, they’re called crickets…kidding.  But, as you can see, they don’t look a whole lot like your average cricket.  Which is why most people are fooled.  And because of this imposing physical appearance, they have been erroneously tagged ‘toe biter’ by at least a few people here in Australia.

So, curious now what the legendary ‘toe biter’ actually looks like? Well, I’ll show you and be sure to look for a post on it tomorrow.

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Photo credit: http://australianmuseum.net.au