Not the field cricket but the mole cricket. So says an entomologist at the Melbourne Zoo.   Over the phone I’d played him my recording of said cricket singing.  Music we’ve been hearing for years, but only in the background.  Never really listening.  Until our Labrador Lila turned up.  And developed a habit of excusing herself after dinner and disappearing.  One warm evening I was curious enough to follow her.  And ended up more curious.

I now know that these mole crickets have bugle-shaped bodies and live in bugle-shaped holes.  Both designed to amplify their sound from the ground.  Mostly it’s the males who create this not unpleasant vibration.  The better built the male, the more even and strong his song.  And the more attractive to females.  Female mole crickets understand that good singers produce superior offspring.  As summer progresses, the males’ singing becomes more insistent. And louder.  At close range it’s earsplitting. Transmitting desperation to fulfil destiny before the mating season ends.  [read more below]

[wpvideo Oy52TS4E w=484]

Well, that’s what the bloke at the zoo told me anyway.  But I’ve told Lila nothing.  I just let her continue to drive herself crazy creeping from cricket to cricket.  She follows a song until right at the critical moment it STOPS.  She pounces on the mute spot, digs frantically but invariably ends up with nothing.  Then she hears another and tries yet again.  The elusive cricket.  And the thrill of the hunt. 

[If you have received this post by email, please click “dog downunder” or “lila’s passion for the cricket” in order to view accompanying video in a web page.]