The Mormon cricket is back in the news today. These ravenous insects, the bane of farmers in Utah, Nevada, and Idaho, are expected to march across these states soon. Scientist have been studying these uglies in an effort to understand why they rampage across the landscape periodically. The tentative answer: they are on a forced march for protein and salt.
In 2003, 12 million acres were overrun by these crickets in Nevada alone! The first crickets in the swarm get all the good stuff, leaving those behind them with less and less to eat. Guess how the late comers get their food? By eating their fellow crickets. In fact, your average Mormon cricket can eat a cricket of equal body weight in one hour. That is a world record among animals that actually chew their food.
Cannibalistic and ugly. Nice.
Photo courtesy: Yahoo!