Thursday, May 30, 2019

Outdoor Object Lesson 98: Lava Crickets

Key Text

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" 2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)


You have probably read of a flame-breathing dragon and you may have seen a fire ant, but have you ever heard of a lava cricket? No, this is not a myth like the dragon. It is a real insect! Lava crickets (Caconemobius fori) are a type of cricket native to Hawaii. They get their name from the lava flows they live on. As cool as it might sound, the lava cricket does not live on fresh, red hot lava. It moves onto the lava after is has cooled and hardened for about 3 months. Although it has cooled some, the lava surface can still get hot and there are many steaming vents around.

The lava cricket is not well understood at the time of this writing. It has been studied by scientists a few times since it was first studied in the 1970’s but because of the extreme environment where it lives it is hard to study. Additionally, as other plants and animals begin to populate the cooling lava flows, the lava cricket disappears because it does not want to have to compete with other species for survival. Scientists do not know where it goes. It does not have wings with which to fly to a new lava flow. No one knows how it arrives to a new lava flow or how it leaves.

It lives in one of the harshest environments on the surface of the the earth. A new lava flow is more desolate and has less water than many deserts. Plus, it experiences major temperature fluctuations. During the day the surface of some lava flows in Hawaii where the lava cricket lives can get up to 140 degrees F (60° C) and at night can plummet to 50 degrees F (10° C).1 How does the cricket cope with daily temperature changes that can be as drastic as 90 degrees F (50° C)? Scientists don’t know. The lava cricket is one extreme animal!

God has given these crickets the information they need to survive in this extreme environment in their DNA. If we want to know how they accomplish this we must study them through science. As unbelievable as it seems to us, God has provided the lava cricket with everything it needs to survive one of the most severe habitats.1

Similarly, God has provided all the information we need to survive this harsh world in which we live. He has provided a message about how he is going to fix the problems in this world. That message is found in the Bible. We may not understand everything about it. But if we want to learn more we must study it. The Bible was written a long time ago by many different people. Each part contains the same core message which was inspired by God’s Spirit. That message is that God is love. Just as the lava cricket can trust the information God has given it to survive in a harsh climate, so we can trust the information God has given us in the Bible that will enable us to survive the harshest situations in this life. All we need to to is read it.


What is your favorite extreme animal whether real or mythical?

Why did God choose to share his message in the Bible rather than just sending an angel to tell us?

Does the Bible say that we will or won’t have difficulties and suffering in this life?

How do you study the Bible?

1. Francis G. Howarth, "NEOGEOAEOLIAN HABITATS ON NEW LAVA FLOWS ON HAWAII ISLAND: AN ECOSYSTEM SUPPORTED BY WINDBORNE DEBRIS," Pacific Insects 20, no. 2-3 (May 16, 1979): 133-144, accessed May 30, 2019 from

Written by David F. Garner

SDA Belief Series #1