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Football bugs....& going green

sports Updated: May 15, 2010 00:53 IST

You are not the only one waiting impatiently for the 2010 FIFA World Cup to start at Johannesburg in South Africa — a tiny insect in a remote corner is also expected to join the football frenzy!

Residents in Meghalaya's Ri-Bhoi district are waiting to welcome the Niangtaser, an insect species (Chremistica genus of the Cicada family), that emerges from the ground every four years, typically one month ahead of the World Cup football tournament.

“Yes, Chremistica is an insect that remains inside the ground and comes out once in four years. That’s why tribal people in the area have nicknamed it as world cup insect,” B. Kharbuli, a zoologist, said.

Chremistica is one of the 2,500 species of the Cicada family found in South East Asian countries. Banteiborlang Nongshli of Saiden area in the district has been following Chremistica for the last four seasons — 1998, 2002, 2006 and in 2010 — during which the World Cup was held.

“We have given a new name to this insect — World Cup insect — as it emerges only during the World cup and stays till the end,” Nongshli said.

Not only that, the insect, which has two white markings on either side of the abdomen, is also a favourite delicacy of the tribals, birds and fishes. It costs about Rs 300-400 per kg.

“Everyone, from young to old, enjoy eating this insect but we don't know whether it has any health benefits,” he added.

After mating, the females lay their eggs in the stems of herbaceous plants, small bushes and even bracken stems. The eggs hatch after 50-125 days, when the nymphs burrow into the soil.