a large flightless ground cricket, 4-5cm in length, they look pretty prehistoric with their armour-plated appearance. These 2 were particularly colourful with their blue-grey pronotum and yellow underside. These crickets have yellow 'blood' which they can squirt from their thorax if handled roughly. (N.B. due to these alternative possibilities my species ID is only provisional; there are 6 species in the genus Acanthoplus)
The family Bradyporidae has 5 genera containing about 30 species in southern Africa most of which are regionally endemic, occurring mainly in arid and semi-raid areas, The spotted individuals were in a dry, subtropical area with erratic summer rainfall (c.450mm p.a.). The vegetation is a bush-dominated, tree savannah on sandy soil, undulating to flat terrain, elevation about 3000 ft
These particular individuals are on a wild cotton bush but their food preferences are remarkably wide, they are omnivorous and cannibalistic on occasions, particularly where individuals are squashed on the road. I've even observed them chewing fresh putty out of a window frame. The eggs are laid in small packages in the soil and have the ability to wait a whole year if the rain the first season is insufficient which leads to big swings in numbers with some years seeing numbers in epidemic proportions of the unbeautiful brutes.