Look at this great shot my friend Laurie has posted. (Click on the words great shot). Isn't it just adorable? Underneath the photo, she poses the question "Have you ever seen eyes like these staring you down in a poolside tease?"
Well, I'd like to know if you've ever seen one of these?
I hadn't until one scurried across the bicycle path in front of me and my husband one Sunday afternoon. It was BIG. We stopped to get a closer look, and as luck would have it I had my camera along. As I was snapping this picture, two bikers were approaching from the opposite direction. And I knew them.
One was my friend Ute and her boyfriend Hans. I waved them down. They told us this is called a Maulwurfsgrille in German. In English it would be called a mole cricket. This is not an insect you want to have in your garden. Why? Just take a look at those front legs. They are highly modified for digging. They tunnel rapidly beneath the soil and make trails of pushed-up dirt like that of a mole, only smaller. (Hence, the name mole cricket.) And apparently they will munch on your plants and vegetables at the roots, causing extensive damage.
On the soil surface they can run very rapidly. I think if some of my friends came across one of these, they'd be the ones scurrying.