My good friend Seon called yesterday, wanting me to help her identify a bug that her girls had found in their garage. She said she had never seen such a creature, and that it looked like a giant brown ant. I asked her if it had a big round head, and alternating dark and light bands around the abdomen. She said yes, and I told her to google "Jerusalem cricket," and see if it matched what she had. And so it did.
Then I asked her if I could have it. She brought it over last night, and here he is.
This is the most beautiful and magnificent specimen of a Jerusalem cricket I have ever seen. He is huge. (I say "he," but it could be a female. I don't know how to tell. Better get on that...)
Get a load of that face!!
I took him with me to the arboretum this morning for our Bug Safari. He was very distressed to be on display in an otherwise empty container, but I wanted him to be easy for the kids to see. When I got home, I fixed him up a nice terrarium, with rich soil, leaf litter and a little patch of grass. As soon as I put him in there, he seemed much more relaxed. He wandered around a bit, investigating the moist, dead leaves. Then he found the clump of grass and decided it was time for a well-deserved rest.
Goodnight, little friend.
I'm going to try to keep him until March. I would like to display him at 2 more upcoming Bug Safaris before I turn him loose. From what I've read, though, they don't keep well in captivity. We'll see what happens. I'll do my best.