last summer, i went hiking in Fairmont, BC (in canada). we drove up behind some very cool hoodoos, but along the way we came across this REALLY creepy looking bug. i took several pictures of it while it was digging or poking its stinger into the ground. this image was the last one, after it retracted it, and then we ran away. i was wondering what type of bug it was that i was so fearful of.
Dear Hoodoo Explorer,
This is a female Mormon Cricket in the genus Anabrus, one of the Long Horned Katydids. She was in the process of laying eggs.
Update from David Gracer (06/12/2006)
The Mormon Cricket got its name from the colorful tale of a plague on the newly-arrived Mormons who were threatened with devastation, but saved by a vast flock of seagulls that swept down and ate up the bugs. These insects were an important staple in the diets of many Indian groups. DeFoliart has catalogued the many ways that the insects were gathered and prepared; most of the accounts were written by white observers of Indian culture in the 1800s. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’ve been told repeatedly that the ones that have eaten the farmer’s alfalfa taste MUCH better than the ones that have eaten sage. This is one of the species that, at least in some years, could easily be mass-harvested or cultivated for either human consumption or, perhaps more realistically, as animal feed.