Rio Grande Golden Locust

Rio Grande Golden Locust

Sighted at Taos Valley Overlook

The sturdy carapaces of these extremely rare creatures (saltamontes del oro) are actually coated in gold dust from digging burrows in gold-bearing ore deposits to lay their eggs. It is said that if you encounter one during mating season and follow from a safe distance, the insect may lead you to a claim. The hardy saltamonteros (grasshopper hunters) of territorial New Mexico scratched out a meager living boiling the insects for their gold, until the population plummeted.

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