This bug is neither from Jerusalem nor is it related to a cricket. It is found across the western United States and Mexico. Years ago I met one in the Texas desert. It jumped, I ran. In Spanish it is called Niño de la Tierra – which translates to Child of the Earth. The one I met had a lighter colored head, more truly like a baby. This one is darker. They are also known as Potato Bugs. They have many Navajo names that all refer to the insects head:
c’ic’in lici (Tsiitsʼiin łichíʼí) “red-skull”
c’os bic’ic lici (Chʼosh bitsiitsʼiin łichíʼí) “red-skull bug”
c’ic’in lici’ I coh (Tsiitsʼiin łichíʼítsoh) “big red-skull”
wo se c’ini or rositsini or yo sic’ini (Wóó tsiitsʼiin/Yaaʼ tsiitsʼiiní) “skull insect”
While the nocturnal insect has strong mandibles it has a supposed meek disposition. It may bite if threatened – but no worry, the bite is not venomous.
I think my almost complete painting resembles Talavera pottery. Somehow it goes from creepy (above) to sweet (below). I had the similar challenge with this bug as I had with the Palo Verde Beetle. I work at keeping translucent what should really be darker and opaque – so one could still note the anatomy. I may go darker if I find a balance.
Every summer for the last few years, I spend a week doing a drawing a day. This year I focus on a series of small bug works. The time line is more like a bug a week. I intended to only make four, but as bugs came my way (via friends) I kept thinking – only one more. I enjoyed the learning experience so much I doubled the plan.
Some of my bugs will show at the i.d.e.a. Museum in an invitational titled Jeepers Creepers – Bugs in Art Exhibition. The show opens in October and will be in partnership with the ASU natural history entomology collection.
This Jerusalem Cricket is commissioned by Liz Casebolt and her cat Charlie Goodyear. Liz was my neighbor here in Phoenix. She now lives in Burbank – hence the AZ and CA maps in the background of the artwork.
Thanks Liz – No Woman is an Island.