Monsters (Family Cooloolidae)

In 1976 at Cooloola north of Brisbane, Queensland Museum researchers turned up a bizarre cricket-like beast. Dubbed the Cooloola monster, it caused quite a stir in the insect world. It was officially named Cooloola propator as recently as 1986. It was so strange it needed a new group of its own, the Cooloolidae, the first new family of crickets or grasshoppers for nearly 100 years.

In the years since, three other species of monsters have surfaced, all from Queensland. The Dingo Monster, Cooloola dingo, from Blackdown Tableland and the Sugarcane Monster, Cooloola ziljan, from Bundaberg were described in 1986. Pearson’s Monster, Cooloola pearsoni, from South Percy Island in the Coral Sea off Mackay, was described in 1999. Their short antennae, reduced wings and stout, spiny legs are designed for burrowing through sandy soils where they feed on beetle grubs and cicada nymphs. The large, fat females never come up above ground, but males surface on rainy nights to search for a mate.

Cooloola pearsoni, (Family Cooloolidae) Cooloola pearsoni, (Family Cooloolidae)

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