Potato Bug from Utah

Subject:  Bug Spotted on Zion Hike
Geographic location of the bug:  Zion National Park, Utah
Date: 10/28/2019
Time: 03:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
I saw this critter on a hike.  At first it was on it’s back and looked dead.  I flipped it over and it moved slightly.  It did not seem to be healthy.  My initial thought was that it somehow just passed through a predator’s digestive track.  So, what’s that bug?
P.S. I also saw a tarantula on this hike – photo also attached!
How you want your letter signed:  Zion Hiker

Potato Bug

Dear Zion Hiker,
This is a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, a subterranean dwelling Orthopteran that is most often found on the surface after a good rain.  It appears to have undergone a trauma.  We are always amazed at the number of squashed insects we have seen on hiking trails.  We generally think of hikers as nature lovers, and the squashed insects seem too numerous to have been accidentally stepped on.  Rather, we believe many hikers take out their fear and loathing of insects by squashing them on hiking trails. 

2 thoughts on “Potato Bug from Utah”

  1. Dear Zion Hiker i hope you had a nice visit. I am a local in Zion for 40 years. We just went through a record breaking cold snap starting about the time of your visit. I like to think that is what killed the Jerusalem cricket aka ” dirt baby”. It is also interesting that you saw a tarantula. A friend took photos of one just last week. This is not the season for them,it’s too late. I wonder if it is because the summer rains failed this year? Anyway i hope you don’t get tagged with “unnecessary carnage”!? Unless, of course… Come back and visit again. I love WTB and the wonderful service they provide.

  2. Also, it could have resisted an attack by a gray fox or a jay or raven and died of injuries. At this time of year it is easy to know if there is a fox nearby because they are eating tunas and leave tuna colored turds on their favorite stations. I don’t know how they get past the spines! Wishing all best for who might read this folklore.


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