Encounters #2 – Jiminy Cricket

When out and about, adventuring, experimenting, traveling or simply walking, I’m often amazed at the sheer variety and beauty of what I encounter along the way. At the same time I feel humbled, because I realize how little I know. So:

“Open your eyes, take note, read up – and learn something new.”

Randomly, random facts, at random times.

jiminy-cricket-1

Jiminy also goes by the name of Koringkriek, Corncricket, or South African Armoured Katydid. This fascinating, fat and flightless fellow’s proper name is Hetrodes pupus, and he grows up to five centimetres in length. He lives along the escarpment regions of the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape Provinces in South Africa, where he particularly enjoys the succulent Karoo and Fynbos biomes. He doesn’t cross the Orange River, but his cousin Acanthoplus lives further to the north where he eats millet and sorghum and is eaten by chicken and sometimes their owners. In general, Koringkrieks eat everything and anything, but preferably plants, insects and occasionally bird nestlings.

Jiminy’s body armour of vicious looking spikes and thorns serves as his outer level of self-defence, making it more difficult for birds and lizards to swallow him. Should that not be sufficient, he can autohaemorrhage, in other words spray a portion of haemolymph at his attacker, with a reach of up to six centimetres.

But beware Jiminy Cricket! – After this so-called ‘reflexive bleeding’ a meticulous cleaning of the body is required, in order to avoid attacks by his mates. Particularly when times are tough and their diet is lacking protein and salt, Koringkrieks tend to become cannibals!

 

 

 

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