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