May 29, 2009

Away

Have been away for work, which is always an interesting experience. Ranged from checking out a prehistoric village to stepping in fresh cow poop. Quite the dichotomy.

Saw my first mormon cricket, an insect by which I am fascinated. Mormon crickets are gnarly. Per Wikipedia, "tradition tells of a story where the first Mormon settlement in Utah was saved from famine by gulls eating hordes of [crickets] that had been destroying their first wheat crop." Interesting, but odder yet is that they swarm and are cannibals. They will "attack the cricket in front of them every few seconds and [they] must move constantly forward to avoid attacks from behind." Swarming cannibal crickets. Go figure.

Oddities that they are, they are hugely destructive – destroying crops and creating a traffic hazard. In Nevada, the swarming "bands" will extend as wide as the road and go on for miles. Not only will cars slide off the road because the swarming hordes of crickets are quite a distraction (I was told that it will look as though the road is moving, but cars will also slide off the highway because the crickets make the road slick. Mormon crickets are not a good thing, nor are they small (they can get up to nearly 3 inches long).

Their "season" is starting now.