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Aug. 10, 2011

Australian King Crickets

by The Bug Chicks

Click to enlarge images

We thought we'd do another write-up on one of the amazing insects Bug Chick Kristie saw during her trip to Australia.

The huge mandibles are very noticeable, but can you find the labrum?

This impressive cricket was found in the house where she was staying in Sydney in eastern Australia. These huge crickets and their relatives are Anostostomatids, and can be found in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and South America. There are lots of different species and they go by many common names, but in Australia they are collectively called King Crickets. They are cousins of other heavy hitters like the giant wetas of New Zealand which can reach 4 inches in length! This king cricket was about 2 inches in length.

King Cricket, Sydney, Australia

King crickets are ground-dwelling and usually don't fly. They have heavy spines on their legs which make them hard to swallow as prey. As omnivores and scavengers, they eat other insects, spiders, fungi, and plant matter.

He looks angry, but he's just tapping his antennae on Kristie's camera to see if she's a threat.

Check out those massive mandibles! Kristie played with him for a while but was careful not to get nipped! So cool!

 

Original post can be found on www.thebugchicks.com.

________________________________________________

Kristie Reddick and Jessica Honaker are The Bug Chicks. They each have Masters Degrees in Entomology and love to teach people about insects and spiders. They also run Solpugid Productions where they are involved in all sorts of entomological endeavors including the popular Bug Bytes podcast, produced in collaboration with the Texas A&M University Department of Entomology. For more from The Bug Chicks, check out their website at http://www.thebugchicks.com!

About The Bug Chicks

Kristie Reddick and Jessica Honaker are The Bug Chicks. They each have Masters Degrees in Entomology and love to teach people about insects and spiders.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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