Sunday, 4 November 2012

Locust Birth

A group of my locusts have all recently matured into adult specimens. They seem to respond to sudden feeding, as when presented with a glut of new brambles last week the juvenile locusts all hatched out in the space of a few days. 

They crawl up onto the branches and whilst clinging upside down they remain still for a few moments and then begin the slow process of shedding their immature skins. It seems incredible that the large adult specimen can appear from the juvenile form, the insect doubles in size and the soft adult must somehow mature within the juvenile whilst still wearing it's youthful skin. How can one form exist almost perfectly grown within the smaller still functioning form ? To sit with the children watching the  unfolding of the adult is astonishing, as the new head, thorax, abdomen and legs imperceptibly shrug out of the smaller skin as if extricating from a tight wetsuit. The new adult form then hangs from it's abdomen for an hour or so as the wings unfurl and stiffen leaving the abandoned shed skin husk, with it's functionless wing stubs, hanging on the bramble. If left in the tank the locusts eat the shed skin.

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