Last week, I received a series of texts from two co-workers and supervisor asking for identification of a particular pest.
The photo was a bit blurry, but the tan and black two-toned abdomen looked familiar to me. Couple that with the high-level of intrigue by some knowledgeable pest guys, and I was pretty sure I knew what we were dealing with.
I called the discoverer.
“The pic is a bit blurry, but do a Google search for ‘Jerusalem Cricket’ and tell me if that’s what you’ve got there”, I stated.
He performed the search query on his phone and said, “Naw dude, the cricket thing doesn’t have enough legs. This guy has eight legs and two really long appendages.”
Excitement and dismay simultaneously took over my emotional state.
I’m the “Go to” guy for these issues. I have a reputation to uphold, but I don’t know of any pest found in Nebraska that fits that description.
On the other hand, THIS IS SO COOL! What is this thing and how did it get here?
“Where was it found?”, I asked.
“In the homeowner’s yard”, the discoverer replied.
“Have they had any deliveries? Mulch? Soil? Gravel?”
“Yes. The homeowner recently had a mulch delivery from Colorado.”
I was hoping for a delivery from some desert area, but luck just wasn’t on my side.
“Let me call you back”, I insisted.
I needed help. I began running search queries like “Jerusalem Cricket with eight legs” and “Spider with ten legs”.
An insect like a Jerusalem Cricket can’t have eight legs and a spider can’t have ten, but sometimes you get lucky in strange ways when performing these searches.
BINGO! I came across an article titled “Sun Spider mistaken for Jerusalem Cricket.
I checked out photos of Sun Spiders and quickly realized these arachnids were the same things as Camel spiders.
You might remember the crazy Camel Spider photos and videos shot by a few of our brave U.S. soldiers when they spent time in the Middle East. If you somehow missed the posts, I highly recommend checking them out.
Armed with a little more knowledge, I called back the discoverer of the pest and, while giving my best effort to not sound too excited, said, “Try Sun Spiders”.
“Yep! That’s it!”, he replied.
I must admit, I knew there were interesting and odd arthropods throughout the world, but I didn’t expect something this wild-looking to be roaming around in our own backyards.