Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Another day, another Cricket.

The "Cricket" is driving me nuts! Who really cares about how quickly we beat the Indians? Will it be 3 and a half days or 4, or will they drag it out to 5? Save me! It is boring stuff, and when the Cricket is on, all the other stations take that as a sign to show other uninteresting rubbish, like the Hopman Cup (which is an artificially contrived Tennis tournament, between teams no-one cares about, for a prize no-one knows about.) And the less said about Rich Men Showing off the Size of their Spinnakers, the better. The only good news on that front was that one contender's boat fell apart before it even got here.

So, lets talk about Crickets again - Real Crickets - Insects, Grasshopper relatives, sometimes winged, (but not in this Species), with strong legs, powerful jaws and huge antennae. It is the antennae which impressed me when I took these images, and I have marked in yellow the tips of the antennae. Click on the images to enlarge them, so you can see the very long, fine antennae properly.

These images were taken on 15 November, in a patch of warm weather we were having at the time. That was before the mist and drizzle (which is still with us) closed in on us. This Cricket had climbed up a stem of one of my Herbaceous Peonies (from which I had cut the flower).

In the top image, the antennae are spread - wide, left and right.
And in this second image, the antennae are held one up, one down. I am always impressed with an insect whose antennae are many times longer than its own body. And they are so completely adjustable. And this insect lives down a burrow, so what does it do with its antennae then? Another of the mysteries of the Nature of Robertson.
I didn't publish these images yesterday, as I thought that perhaps I had published them at the time they were taken, but events apparently overtook me, and I appear not to have published them before.

As with yesterday's images, this is the Illawarra Raspy Cricket, (Apotrechus illawarra).


Gaye from the Hunter said...

chuckle chuckle - agree completely about the cricket (bat'n'ball stuff), yatching and tennis. But at least we are spared the chest-banging ruckus of football in all its forms at this time of year - I feel sure that if my other half was a devoted football fan that it would be valid reason for divorce ;)

I have also wondered about the exercise of getting underground and back out again with those lengthy antennae. And I share your fascination for these formidable creatures.

Have you heard the sound they make that gives them the name "raspy" cricket? It's a rapid sandpapery/rattle(ish) sound and was quite intimidating the first time I heard it (which, by the way, was when I was up a ladder inspecting this impessive cricket-looking creature on the eaves of the house).

On this introductory meeting, my cricket (which was wingless at the time) wandered through a spider's web, and then I watched him clean and preen his antennae - now I can tell you that that was ultimately more exciting and rewarding than watching the cricket on the telly.



Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gaye

I have not knowingly heard the "raspy" sound, but I have read about it in the linked AusMus Facts Sheet.

It says: "All members of this large group have a mechanism that produces a raspy sound, which they may use as a defence when disturbed."

If you were up a ladder poking a camera up its nose, then you qualified as a threat - an deserved to have the noise made at you.

My first specimen was in my kitchen, and allowed me to carry it around on a knife (in a non-threatening manner). And it did not make any threatening noises at all.



Anonymous said...

>>>If you were up a ladder poking a camera up its nose, then you qualified as a threat - an deserved to have the noise made at you.<<<

No doubt you are right Denis :)

It must take a fair bit to rile them as this is the only time I have heard the sound, and I have seen 5 crickets. In all cases I have shoved a camera in their face, but only been threatened that once.

He lifted his rear-end and emitted the noise, not unlike a softer version of the noise a rattle-snake (on tv) makes.

It was a most interesting encounter.