No matter how hard a human being attempts to think outside of his or her preconceptions, it's often difficult to avoid an anthropocentric view of one's surroundings. Sometimes, when confronted by something foreign to the human experience, it takes a while for the reality to sink in. Last night, I saw something which took a while for me to process. With no further ado, let me post the picture of what it took me a couple of minutes to puzzle out:
It dawned on me what that profusion of legs meant... it was one of the ubiquitous camel crickets which frequent our site, in the middle of its periodic moult. Crickets being orthopterans, they undergo partial metamorphosis, they shed their skins periodically as they grow larger. I managed to catch this particular cricket mid-moult. It didn't look particularly pretty, but then I'm looking at it with a vertebrate bias, and invertebrates outnumber us vertebrates by a wide margin. It's a beautiful planet, a bug planet.