...

Meet our newest crawly critters…

May 11, 2023

A group of two-spotted crickets on a branch at Marwell Zoo

We’ve added a plague of locusts and a orchestra of crickets to the growing list of animals that guests can enjoy seeing at the zoo.

The insects, which are housed in our Arid Lands exhibit, near Café Graze, have already been popular with guests.

The two species on show are desert locusts and two-spotted crickets and in the wild they would normally be found in desert habitats.

Two-spotted crickets, which look a bit like a large black/brown beetle, often hide under logs and are adept at digging holes to create homes.

Desert locusts are larger, grasshopper-like creatures that shed their skin several times during their development, as well as changing colour and growing wings.

The pinker looking locusts amongst those currently on display are the more mature individuals within the group and they will eventually turn yellow.

Locusts are infamous for travelling in swarms and destroying crops as they consume the equivalent of their own body weight each day.

Dan Garrick, Team leader – Invertebrates, said: “The locusts will consume large amounts of green matter, so the Team will be providing fresh browse daily.

“Guests may hear the crickets ‘singing’ – this behaviour is done by males to attract females, possibly also to demark territory. It is achieved by the males rubbing their wings together and this behaviour is called stridulation.”

Both species jump and both lay eggs in the soil. The eggs can be expected to hatch after approximately 2 weeks if conditions are right.