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Hawaii Volcano Teaches us New Lessons in Insects

The eruption of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii has left destruction and, of course, molten lava, which formed black, solid formations. It looked daunting and frightening to most, except for one species of athropods—the lava cricket.

Known as Caconemobius fori (‘ūhini nēnē pele in the native Hawaiian language), this lava cricket is known to be the first multicellular organism to live on the newly formed lava mounds. It is a mystery to experts as to how this insect can thrive in a sterile, hot, and extreme landscape. The lava crickets showed up on the barren flows and started to thrive on seafoam (rich in albumen) and decomposing plants. The moment vegetation starts to grow on the flows, the lava crickets vanish. Scientists still don’t know where they stay when there are no volcanic reactions.

These crickets continue to surprise scientists. They have unique strategies in colonizing extremely hot environments. They provide vital insight into adaptation.

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