It is a serious bother for farmers with Mormon crickets’ capable of devouring their way across 50 miles (80 kilometers) of farmland, and that too in a single season! Mormon crickets are close relatives of locusts and grasshoppers.
But, why crop-eating bugs like Mormon crickets cover so much ground so quickly? Stephen Simpson, an entomologist at the University of Sydney in Australia, has long been wondering on it. These insects live in the western United States. In his search, Stephen recently pinned down two driving forces: a need for protein and a fear of cannibalism.
It has been concluded that when protein is scarce, Mormon crickets on the move are quick to devour each other. And this helps explain why the crickets showed a strong tendency to keep jumping forward, he explained.
“They have an incentive to move, because they’re least at risk of being cannibalized if they’re going in the same direction as everybody else,” Simpson said.