Crickets – Nature’s Artists
Because of this fable that practically spread across the world, the cricket is now viewed by many as a lazy creature that does nothing but sing all day long. It would be perhaps unfair to judge it by means of this fable only and as such I have decided to dig up for more information about this rather amazing “singers” that accompany us in the days and nights we happen to spend in natural settings.
Undergoing serious research work I managed to find out that they are somehow relatives with the grasshoppers, some kind of second level cousins if it were for me to put in a funny way, as they too are members the Orthoperans. It is said that crickets belong to a bigger family called Gryllidae. At the same time, when it comes to the number of cricket species existing worldwide, some say that there are about 900 of such species. Quite a number I dare say!
I find these creatures interesting in their behavior and look at well. I’d start by mentioning a few facts about their look. Suppose you were somewhere at a cricket parade and you saw many of these creatures coming towards you. What would attract your attention? Probably their long antennas, their eyes and their color. Or perhaps their whole body- it all depends on the attention one pays to details. It is almost the same thing as when analyzing a fellow being, as some of you when being asked what color were the eyes of a person may face difficulty and find himself unable to answer this question. But, going back to the master cricket, what attracted my attention was the fact that even though it has wings, it doesn’t use them to fly but instead prefers to jump or crawl. It must be easier for it to do this than start flying and here perhaps the fable was right about the laziness aspect. When it comes to the colors they display one may not be able to find such a wide variety as they come in such colors as black, brown or perhaps grey. As far as the eyes are brought into discussion it is said that they have what many call compound eyes and it is precisely this that allows them to look in many directions at once. And not only do they look but they also manage to see things happening in various places at once. Now, be honest and say that you wouldn’t like to be able to do the same thing, something similar to the back eye mothers in law are supposed to have. Perhaps their wings are not that well developed but certainly their legs are, as nature equipped them with legs that permit them to jump at quite great heights. As they are great singers, they naturally have been endowed with great hearing abilities too. After all you all know that in order to be a magnificent singer one needs to have a good musical ear. Interesting enough the twittering sound crickets release comes as a result of the friction between the two wings it has. One of these wings has some kind of “teeth” which in fact contribute to a great extent to the artistic shows offered by this unique creature. And like all good artists they have developed an appropriate repertoire too, as it is said that they have a song prepared for each situation, four songs in fact according to those who studied them closely. Every special occasion in their life is to be welcomed with a different sound. It can be the sound related to the assiduous courting endeavors meant to conquer the heart of the female finding itself in its close vicinity, the sound meant to scare off those undermining its authority in front of the “loved” one, and as such a more zealous one, the sound used to call for its partner or meant to bring them closer to it and of course the song meant to ensure the perpetuation of species, that is the becoming a twosome song as I prefer calling it.
Nature endowed them with this specific gift but it also equipped them with some so called tympanic membranes which allow them to perceive the songs of other crickets as well. Weird or not, these membranes are located on their front legs. Isn’t this miraculous how nature settles everything in prefect order?
They may be praised for their artistic gifts but they are certainly not so much appreciated when it comes to the fact that they sometimes destroy crops by playing havoc among the fresh fruits one has in its yard or perhaps the much praised for their taste tomatoes or in some cases whole fields of wheat, oats or rye. The ones to be blamed for this havoc are in fact the so called field crickets as you have to know that there are various types of crickets on what I may suggestively call the insect market. These field crickets come in black color and this must be the reason why they cause so much trouble to the poor people who want nothing but their annual crops and their fresh fruit. Why I say this? Because like you all probably know most of the times the black color is associated with evil things. The comparison may not be considered appropriate by some of you, yet it crossed my mind and as one needs to express its thoughts then I did this too in writing.
Interesting enough there is also the type called the house cricket. This one is brown and like most lazy people too he finds himself in an almost permanent search of warmth and as such their favorite place would be the vicinity of the fireplace or perhaps the cozy, warm kitchen.
Resembling in most aspects us humans, crickets too are different and as such there is also a third type of cricket, called the cave or camel cricket, that love to spend their time in dark, cold spaces.
Mostly, they make their presence felt during the night time, being quite active in this period. Yet, it all depends on the temperature. Being weather sensitive, cooler temperatures determine them to make their song heard less frequently. In case you didn’t know they are cold-blooded. This may be another interesting fact about the way these creatures are structured. So, if it were for me to make a summary, then I’d say that some crickets are able to tell you the temperature. You may be able to determine the outside temperature by counting the chirps per minute. If you are good at mathematics then you will just love to do this as according to specialists all you need to do after counting their chirps is divide the number you obtained by 4 and then add the number 40. Specialists claim that by doing this you will obtain the approximate temperature and as such weather forecasts will become useless in your case.
Not only are they able to foretell the outside temperature but they are also associated by many with the idea of fortune and good luck. It is said that when hearing a song performed by this artist from nature one should feel blessed. Where do all these things happen? Mostly in Asian cultures, in countries like China and Japan. In such countries, even though it may sound unusual, they sometimes turn out to be some kind of house pets, being kept in nice decorated cages. You may find this nice, yet I think things will change when hearing that like in the case of dogs or cocks, male crickets are also used for cricket fighting. Some may find this entertaining, yet the poor crickets pay with their lives so much fun and entertainment.
It looks like in China cricket fighting turned out to be a real art as like in box, crickets are carefully weighted and as such they “meet” the appropriate opponent in the ring. Funny or not, the Chinese people use to say that when they are not at “work”, they love singing. Each cricket has its own price, depending upon their ferocity if I may express myself using such words. How can a cricket be ferocious? It is said that those living in wildness are more powerful and as such feared in the ring. Because large bets are made on them, outside the ring they are pampered, of course to the extent one may affirm this when talking about some insects like crickets. Funny enough is the fact that their performance in “bed” is to be taken as a sign that they are also powerful in the ring and as such the pampering program includes numerous sexual intercourses as well, between males, those acting as insect boxers, and female crickets. Does this match the idea of entertainment you had? I think personal taste is to be brought again into discussion if one was compelled to answer this question. If you ask me I’d say that it looks crazy and cruel too, given the fact that we are talking about some practically harmless creatures. But, did you know that this practice lies back in the 14th century? It looks that at that time there were not so much sources of entertainment and as such the only available fighters were the crickets. Other weird activities involving crickets are the singings contests organized in China, having as main performers the same insects. You probably wonder what criteria are used in order to establish a winner. The answer would be loudness and also the way that “singing” sounds. So, next time you get bored, the simple solution would be for you to line a few crickets and determine them to “sing” for you. It would be similar to what happens in cartoons; at least this is how I envisage it. I adopted an ironic tone as it seems that this is the most appropriate manner to approach such kind of things.
I find amazing how these creatures manage to communicate with each other and at the same time how they manage to communicate their intentions and make them audible. Amazingly enough they are also able to find just the perfect hiding places, away from predators. Where do they manage to hide and at the same time make themselves heard? Most often they dig veritable tunnels through wood and sometimes they scoop out into the ground too, building what some may consider genuine dens. Which species of cricket do this? If I triggered your curiosity then you should look for the so called mole cricket that does just this. If you imagine that this disturbs them in their artistic show-off then you are wrong because it doesn’t.
Tiny insects, yet capable to defend themselves. It seems that they are able to modulate their songs and interrupt their chirpings as they feel some other creature approaching. Like most of us humans, they too have what some may call a strong sense of property and as such they defend their homes. It is funny to imagine that when another cricket approaches them they use their antennae in order to identify the sex of the other cricket, yet this is precisely what they do.
I find these insects interesting and honestly they managed to arouse my interest. I cannot but hope that I managed to arouse yours too and if not by determining you to keep them as pets, at least by making you expect their next chirp with curiosity.11