Insects live in a world where they are always about to become someone’s lunch. Because of this continual threat against their lives, there are quite a few bugs that have developed some amazing defensive techniques. If an insect can find a way to stay alive in a world of predators and prey, they have an advantage over other insects. One of these creatures is related to the katydid family. Katydids are those green bugs that look like leaves. If you have never seen a katydid, don’t worry, the insect we are talking about looks nothing like its North American cousin.
The Armored Ground Cricket
Unlike the katydids around your house, the armored ground cricket cannot fly. If you are ever in Africa and you see a large spiny bug that lacks wings crawling across the ground, you are probably looking at an armored ground cricket. The cricket’s first defense is those spines. They are thick, sharp and discourage a few would-be predators. The armored cricket doesn’t stop there; it also has sharp mandibles for biting. If you decide to mess with the armored cricket, it can deliver a painful bite. Their mandibles, or teeth, are hard enough to tear into dead carcasses and chew through tough fibers. If it gets ahold of your finger, you will not be happy. Spines and teeth are not the only defense mechanism used by the cricket; it can also spray attackers with its own blood.
Wait, spray blood?
You read correctly. If the attacker comes from above or the side, the cricket can’t use its teeth so it sprays a jet of its own blood onto the attacker. There are several lizards that find the taste deplorable, but scientists think that the cricket’s blood also contains toxins. This transforms their blood into an effective defense mechanism. After the threat has retreated, the cricket cleans the blood from its body. It is meticulous, making certain that no trace of the blood remains. If the armored cricket misses a spot, it could die. Not from the toxins, but from other armored ground crickets. In the world of insects, even your own species will eat you.
Although you hopefully don't have these pest issues, we can help if you do.