Pacific Asia Museum

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46 North Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena, California 91101
Open Wednesday through Sunday 10am to 6pm
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USC Pacific Asia Museum

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Insect Athletes


Why do crickets need an arena? Why would someone want to goad, or annoy, a cricket?

In ancient China, people kept crickets in cages, to enjoy their songs. Soon, though, they realized that some crickets would fight each other over territory. Bets were made on which cricket would win, and soon cricket fighting became a popular activity- one that goes on still today.

So what happens in a cricket battle? First the insects are carefully weighed to make sure the fighters are of the same size. The crickets are placed in the arena, with glass between them so they can see – but not reach- each other. Each trainer then uses their tools to poke and irritate their fighter as the glass is removed.

The crickets wrestle, bite and chase each other; even using their antennae like sword fighters. The winner is the one to scare away his opponent, or wrestle him down.

Fighting crickets are all called “Generals” but the ones who win get special names: one with a whitish spot on the head could be the "White-Hat General", or one with large mandibles could be the Big Mouth General. What would you name the models here?