Monday 16 September 2013

Giant Stripe-Eyed Grasshoppers of the Mediterranean

On various dates and in various locations across the Mediterranean Sea; I came across big grasshoppers most noticeable by the grey-black stripes on their compound eyes. Time and again, it brought me a strange joy to see their familiar faces in a variety of different places.

Here are all such grasshoppers I've encountered up to date.

I found this one in Cesme - near the city of ─░zmirI kept this animal for a few hours and fed it pulped carrots, which it consumed with great enthusiasm.

This giant specimen I found in the ruins of Baalbek, while touring Lebanon with my family in 2010. It differed from the others with the dark spots across its body. Its seemed to be watching my moves from behind a cage of colourful ocular stripes.

This final one I found on the coast of Zonguldak, an old Turkish mining city on the coast of the Black Sea, in 2013. It was extraordinary how the one race of insects had colonised all these different environments across the Mediterranean basin.

I identified these great insects as Anacridium aegyptium, fabulously known as "Egyptian locusts." Although their name suggests biblical swarms, these animals were harmless and according to zoological literature, not prone to swarming.

If I find one near my home one day, I may try to keep it as a pet in an Asian-style cricket cage.

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