Elimaea (Elimaea) subcarinata – Bush cricket Nsenene

A green cricket here, a source of income and food there. Photographer Jasper Doest recently won the Fritz Pölking Prize 2021 for his documentation about katyds in Uganda. This being a story shows once more how complex live is.

So what is Nsenene? It means crickets and seems to mean mostly the species Ruspolia differens. So it is not the same species as ours from Singapore, but they look very similar. The members of the family Tettigoniidae often have this cone head and or long wings that look like leaves. They are easy to photograph, but might suddenly jump in a random direction, which can be your face. So sometimes it is right to look the other way…

Back to the story from Uganda. Bush crickets have been a source for protein for the local people. But then two trends worked against the crickets: 1. Deforestation, and lack of rain reduced their population, and 2. Increasing demand by a growing population increasing the number of caught crickets. Suddenly the species is in danger and the price for Nsenene increased.

The situation is similar to fishing, people catch crickets during their mating season (that’s why they build swarms) in large numbers, while destroying their habitat. And while some invested in equipment to catch more and more, others are loosing a seasonal source of food and money. I could imaging that the future will bring up ideas to breed Nsenene in farms…

Who would have thought of so much drama around a green cone head?

  • Katyd in a flower