It had been an exceptionally busy night, spent in the company of a virgin.
He had gone in search of a mate the previous evening, working hard to attract female attention by rubbing his wings together – or stridulating if you want to get technical.
He rejected several plump females who responded to his calls, for the wily Armoured Ground Cricket knew that virgin crickets were slender little beauties.
Why a preference for a virgin? Because a first timer will mate once and lay her eggs, whereas the old pros mate and lay their eggs randomly. By sticking to the svelte virgins, he knew that a higher proportion of her offspring would be his.
When a slim young thing eventually turned up, he stridulated ardently and offered her his nuptial gift of a food sack together with his sperm pouch. She proved receptive and he carefully attached the spermatophore close to her genital opening. Job done.
However, having lost around 20% of his body weight, he needed to replenish his energy levels. It was sunrise. He staggered off in search of a meal. His appetite was eclectic, but he was partial to bird nestlings and headed across the desert scrub towards some likely looking shrubs.
In his weakened state, progress was slow, making him vulnerable. At almost 3 inches long, detection by predators was difficult to avoid.
When the gecko attacked and grabbed him, the cricket mobilised his defences and autohaemorrhaged, squirting pale green, acrid smelling blood into the gecko’s face. The predator immediately dropped him and scurried off in disgust.
The cricket climbed wearily onto a black rubber car tyre, perhaps in a bid to camouflage itself.
|Armoured Ground Cricket, Morocco|
When the humans began to show an interest in him, he watched and waited. He didn’t have it in him to autohaemorrhage again, but if that finger moved any closer he would unleash his final defence mechanism and vomit up his last meal all over it.
I hope you enjoyed this latest offering - do leave a comment me. See you in a couple of weeks.