History of the Parktown Prawn


    Although these nocturnal insects may be relatively new to Johannesburg, they are by no means new to science. Libanasidus vittatus was originally described by William Kirby in 1899. Recent research has left little doubt that the species originally occurred only in indigenous forests, but in fact still occurs in such forests in the Soutpansberg and Transvaal Drakensberg Mountains. In fact, the king crickets and their relatives originated millions of years ago, well before the time of dinosaurs, so they preceded and have already outlived the dinosaurs by millions of years.

The Parktown Prawn’s recent invasion of suburban highveld is probably an effect of man's modifications, where artificial "forests" have been created in residents gardens. Once the garden has reached a perfect state for inhabitants, an accidental introduction of the creature and the lack of predators such as mongooses and water leguaans in these areas could have resulted in the rapid colonisation of large areas.

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