When I was a kid crickets used to stop chirping if you stomped your foot nearby. I know this because I remember it vividly, and as we all know, personal memory is 100% reliable!
But these days, when I walk past a chirping cricket hidden somewhere near my feet, I can stomp and even jump as hard as I want, and the cricket keeps on chirping.
At first I thought crickets might have evolved to tolerate humans stomping having 'learned' that stomping nearby is not going to harm them. I suppose there have been enough cricket generations in the last 35 years to achieve mutation - or something?
But then I realised that doesn't make sense. First, obviously, because I am not a biologist and have no idea what I am saying. Second, because I don't think this hypothesis provides environmental pressure on crickets to not be scared of stomping? (What's to gain by continuing to chirp? More mates impressed by your fearlessness? What advantage is lost by halting the chirping for a few seconds?)
But mainly, because surely kids have been stomping on the ground around crickets for amusement for thousands of years. So if crickets were going to evolve an insouciance for stomping feet, wouldn't they have done it long before now?
So have Melbourne crickets been overrun with a different sub species that tolerates foot stomping? Do people these days just not know how to stomp like the old days? Or is my memory playing tricks on me?
Do crickets fall silent when you walk by where you are, or are they all confident and noisy like ours?