Honolulu Lite
Charles Memminger

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Evolution just a hop
for this cricket

AS reported by the Star-Bulletin's crack science reporter, Helen Altonn, Hawaii's Laupala cricket is the "fastest-evolving invertebrate" in the world. Due apparently to deadline constraints however, Helen couldn't actually interview a Laupala cricket. But we caught up with one in the back yard, and here's what he had to say:

Honolulu Lite: So! Fastest-evolving invertebrate! You must be very proud!

Laupala: Yeah, well, I'd like to thank the academy and all the little species we stepped on to evolve to this point. Of course, I wouldn't be here if I had not evolved from my great-great-great-great-great-great-granddad and grandmother roughly 45 minutes ago.

HL: Wow, that's fast!

Laupala: Shucks, it's nothing. I expect to have prehensile thumbs before too long. I'm practically walking upright already. And if I'm not mistaken, that tingling in my back is the start of an actual vertebra.

HL: A backbone!

Laupala: That's right. We got our eye on the "fastest-evolving vertebrate" title. Look out, Homo erectus!

HL: Researchers say you owe your fast evolution to your, well, sexual prowess.

Laupala: Hey, now, I'm not one to chirp and tell, but I'm OK in that department. You don't evolve this quickly by only rubbing your legs together.

HL: And I hear singing is an important part of attracting a mate.

Laupala: That's true. I usually find a nice rock to sit on and belt out a few Perry Como and Barry White tunes. That gets the lady bugs hopping. But you can't go wrong with the old cricket standards.

HL: Like?

Laupala: Jiminy Cricket, dude. My main insect. "When you wish upon a star, makes no difference what species you are ..."

HL: Helloooo, sexy.

Laupala: Yeah, now back off, buster. We may be evolving fast, but we still don't mate outside our genus. Get back to me in a few days. That's a joke.

HL: Is there anything you are looking forward to as you evolve?

Laupala: Yeah. I can't wait to punch out a mynah bird. Bunch of flying knuckleheads. One ate my cousin Jeremy yesterday while he was singing "I'll Remember You" to about 3,000 of his girlfriends.

HL: That's horrible.

Laupala: Tell me about it. Guess who has to entertain them now? I'd better go rest. The chicks expect me at sundown, and I think I'm growing a tail.

Charles Memminger, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail cmemminger@starbulletin.com

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