The mail room of a science building is always an interesting place. We receive email notices like, “Your slime mold has arrived!” and “Live crickets in the mail room, no name.” And some days, our mail room is full of beautiful little dead bugs carefully packaged and sent special, just for us. Sometimes the mail room is full of poetry.

Today I opened a package containing both and I had to share [an excerpt]:

On more than one occasion, 
I have briefly observed them in what looked like 
predatory behavior, 
all occurring in the middle of the night on the slick kitchen floor: 
a group of the creatures in a crude circle, 
with a lone big black cricket in the middle.” 
-Participant from Wilmington, Delaware

It’s these little wonders that come both in the mail and submitted to us electronically that help us unlock mysteries that we could never do without you, the willing and engaged participants, all over the world. You send us pictures of camel crickets and tell us stories of your observations. So, now that we’re all digging in our basements, storage spaces and closets for either holiday travels or preparations — take a moment to look around for these silent, jumping crickets.

While we don’t need every specimen mailed to us (and a special thank you to the participant who lovingly packaged these crickets up for us this week!), we do still need clear photo observations recorded for our Camel Cricket Census.

Thank you all for your enthusiasm. And your poetry. Camel cricket haikus, anyone?