Grasshopper vs

Grasshopper vs. Katydid

Grasshoppers are a group of insects belonging to the suborder Caelifera. They are among what is probably the most ancient living group of chewing herbivorous insects, dating back to the early Triassic around 250 million years ago.

Grasshoppers are typically ground-dwelling insects with powerful hind legs which allow them to escape from threats by leaping vigorously. As hemimetabolous insects, they do not undergo complete metamorphosis; they hatch from an egg into a nymph or «hopper» which undergoes five moults, becoming more similar to the adult insect at each developmental stage. At high population densities and under certain environmental conditions, some grasshopper species can change color and behavior and form swarms. Under these circumstances, they are known as locusts.

Grasshoppers are plant-eaters, with a few species at times becoming serious pests of cereals, vegetables and pasture, especially when they swarm in their millions as locusts and destroy crops over wide areas. They protect themselves from predators by camouflage; when detected, many species attempt to startle the predator with a brilliantly-coloured wing-flash while jumping and (if adult) launching themselves into the air, usually flying for only a short distance. Other species such as the rainbow grasshopper have warning coloration which deters predators. Grasshoppers are affected by parasites and various diseases, and many predatory creatures feed on both nymphs and adults. The eggs are the subject of attack by parasitoids and predators.

Grasshoppers have had a long relationship with humans. Swarms of locusts can have devastating effects and cause famine, and even in smaller numbers, the insects can be serious pests. They are used as food in countries such as Mexico and Indonesia. They feature in art, symbolism and literature.

A herbivorous insect of the order Orthoptera noted for its ability to jump long distances and for its habit of communicating by stridulation.

A cocktail made with crème de menthe and optionally with crème de cacao.

a young student in initial stages of training who has been chosen on account of their obvious talent

In ordinary square or upright pianos of London make, the escapement lever or jack, so made that it can be taken out and replaced with the key.

A type of grasshopper, in the family Tettigoniidae.

Any jumping, orthopterous insect, of the families Acrididæ and Locustidæ, having large hind legs adapted for leaping, and chewing mouth parts. The species and genera are very numerous and some are very destructive to crops. The former family includes the Western grasshopper or locust (Caloptenus spretus), noted for the great extent of its ravages in the region beyond the Mississippi. In the Eastern United States the red-legged (Caloptenus femurrubrum and C. atlanis) are closely related species, but their ravages are less important. They are closely related to the migratory locusts of the Old World. See Locust.

In ordinary square or upright pianos of London make, the escapement lever or jack, so made that it can be taken out and replaced with the key; — called also the hopper.

An antipersonnel mine that jumps from the ground to body height when activated, and explodes, hurling metal fragments over a wide area.

A mixed alcoholic beverage containing crème de menthe, light cream, and sometimes crème de cacao. The name comes from its light green color.

A large, green, arboreal, orthopterous insect (Cyrtophyllus concavus) of the family Locustidæ, common in the United States. The males have stridulating organs at the bases of the front wings. During the summer and autumn, in the evening, the males make a peculiar, loud, shrill sound, resembling the combination Katy-did, whence the name.

terrestrial plant-eating insect with hind legs adapted for leaping

a cocktail made of creme de menthe and cream (sometimes with creme de cacao)

large green long-horned grasshopper of North America; males produce shrill sounds by rubbing together special organs on the forewings

Difference between grasshopper and katydid

How to Recognize Crickets, Katydids, and Cicadas

By their morphology

Crickets and katydids

Crickets, katydids, and grasshoppers belong to the order Orthoptera. Some authors include walking sticks, cockroaches, and mantids, but we place them in other orders. Orthoptera, as we restrict it, is divided into two suborders: Caelifera (grasshoppers and relatives) and Ensifera (crickets, katydids, and gryllacridoids).

The Caelifera have antennae that are shorter than the body and short ovipositors. Those species that make easily heard noises usually do so by rubbing the hind femurs against the forewings or abdomen or by snapping the wings in flight. Tympana, if present, are on the sides of the first abdominal segment.

Ensiferans, with the exception of mole crickets, have antennae at least as long as their bodies. Ovipositors are usually long and blade- or needle-like. Species that produce calling songs nearly always do so by rubbing the forewings together. Those that hear have the ears in their foretibiae.


Cicadas belong to the order (or suborder) Homoptera, which is characterized by piercing sucking mouthparts and, in most winged members, membranous wings held rooflike over the body. Most cicadas are more than 20 mm in length (from head to tip of membranous forewings at rest). All have three ocelli and the antennae arise between rather than beneath the eyes.

The upper three images are adults of representative species of North American cicadas. They vary in length, color patterns, and habitat. The lower image is of a cicada nymph.

Melampsalta calliope
17 mm, meadows
Neocicada hieroglyphica
33 mm, oak woods
Tibican auletes
65 mm, oak woods
Okanagana rimosa
adult male
Okanagana rimosa
cast nymphal skeleton
Quesada gigas
cast nymphal skeleton

By their songs

If locality and season are taken into account, the call of a singing insect can be used to identify its species. However, it is sometimes difficult to judge which major category of singing insect is producing an unknown call. In difficult cases, you may need to locate the songster. Here are some guidelines that may help:

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Cricket songs are musical to the human ear because their carrier frequencies are relatively pure and low.

Katydid and cicada songs sound buzzy, raspy, or whiney, because their carrier frequencies are less pure and are higher than those of crickets. Cicadas call almost exclusively during daylight hours and at dusk, usually from trees and shrubs, whereas most katydids call only at night and many are not resticted to woody vegetation.

Grasshopper, crickets and katydid, how to differentiate them ?

We see some insects almost every day, but in reality, we don’t know much about them… That’s normal there are more than 1 Million of species that are recorded.

“Honey, look it is a grasshopper”

The common mistake that is made is mistaking crickets, grasshoppers and katydids. As a beginning, grasshoppers, crickets and katydids belong to the same order: Orthopterans. Insects of this order share one common attribute: They have straight wings closed to the body. In this family, you’ll find crickets, grasshoppers, katydids, locusts and mole crickets.

You have to know that wings’ size and shape are one of the parameters taken into account to classify insects. As an example, dipterans such as flies have only two wings whereas coleopterans or beetles have elytra.

Between grasshoppers, crickets and katydids, size does matter

Getting the difference between grasshoppers and katydids at first glance is easier than you could think! Grasshoppers have short and thick antennas whereas katydids and crickets antennas are much thinner and longer. If the antennas are longer than the body it’s a katydid or cricket! Easy as a cricket pie.

Unlike what is commonly said, you can never tell the difference between crickets, katydids and grasshoppers depending on their colours. Both of them can be green or brown.

Tell me what you do, I will tell who you are

There is an easy way to tell the difference between them. Look at their behaviours. Katydids are nocturnal insects that are omnivorous and can feed preys such as other insects. On the other hand, grasshoppers will be found during the afternoon on sunny days feeding on grass. Crickets are often omnivorous and live in small burrows, they often get out during the night.

The difference between crickets and katydids lie in the legs

You can spot the difference between crickets and katydids by their legs. The legs of katydids are aligned with their body whereas for the crickets they are perpendicular. As this can be tricky, katydids have elongated bodies.

Now, you’re an expert and can spot the differences between all orthopterans!

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Grasshopper or Katydid?

Okay, so what was your guess? Most of you probably guessed that it was a prehistoric monster but this is actually the Spotted or Mottled Katydid.

Let’s begin by explaining the difference between grasshoppers and katydids.

First of all, both grasshoppers and katydids come from the same “order” called Orthoptera, or “straight wings”, as do crickets. The katydid and cricket are actually more closely related because of something called ‘stridulation’. This is what it’s called when these insects make their distinctive noise by rubbing parts of their bodies together. Grasshoppers and locusts have a row of sharp pegs on the backs of their legs and produce their sound by rubbing these ‘combs’ together. Katydids and crickets, however, create their sounds by rubbing their wings together. This entire order of insects, remarkably, are able to hear the sounds from other insects (as when they are looking for a mate) through an ear — or tympanum — located just below the knee on their front leg. Although certain kinds of grasshoppers can have their ears on the sides of their abdomen.

The above picture is a grasshopper (probably the biggest I’ve found) and you can clearly see the combs on the backs of the legs that they use for stridulation. Grasshoppers also have a slimmer body and shorter antennae. Katydids have long antennae (sometimes longer than their body) and a more round or robust body shape that usually resembles a leaf, even down to the veins in the leaf. (See below) Female katydids have a long, upwardly curving egg-laying structure (ovipositor) underneath the abdomen that, in my opinion, looks like a weapon or stinger of sorts.

All straight wings (grasshoppers, locusts, crickets and katydids) have the following features:

-Ability to make sounds

-Powerful rear legs for jumping

-Long, thin or short antennae

-Metamorphosis from wingless (nymphs) to winged (adults)

As far as diet goes, grasshoppers feed mainly on grasses (herbivores) but will also eat a variety of other plants. Katydids, however, will feed on vegetation, pollen and nectar and even other insects (omnivores). And both serve as meals to a variety of predators…including people. In some countries grasshoppers are fried, roasted and some are even dipped in chocolate!

Perhaps the most interesting bit of information I found while researching the above Spotted Katydid, was that at different stages of some katydid’s developement or instars (phase between two periods of molting) they actually mimick other insects in their appearance. So, while they are wingless nymphs, some may have the physical attributes of a black ant. Katydids will go through four nymphal instars lasting about 30-40 days.

So, there’s a quick lesson on how to tell the difference between a katydid and a grasshopper. And as always, don’t forget to send me pics of your own buggy findings and I’ll post them on the site!

Wannabe Entomologist

Common Confusions

Now, I’m not exactly an expert in entomology. That takes a lot of schooling…a lot, and probably a much higher IQ, than I’m willing to admit, over mine. But I have learned a thing or two and my passion keeps the excitement in this insect/human relationship. This post will be sort of a recap of some other posts, like THIS ONE, but I get a lot of questions (and a lot of hits on my blog, by the way) concerning a certain four insects: the katydid, the grasshopper, the locust and the cicada. So, I’m going to list a few facts with pictures just to clear up these common confusions.

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1. Katydid

Green Leaf katydid

*Over 6,400 species

*Distinguished from grasshoppers by their extremely long antennae

*Also called the ‘long-horned grasshopper’ although they are more closely related to crickets and weta

2. Grasshopper

*2,400 Caelifera and approx. 11,00 valid species

*Can range anywhere from 2-5 inches in length

*Also called the short-horned grasshopper because of their shorter antennae

3. Locust

*Locusts are a certain species of short-horned grasshopper that are known to swarm.

*These swarms are nomadic and can consume entire crops

*There is actually no taxonomic difference between locusts and grasshoppers

4. Cicada

*There are 2,500 described species

*Cicadas are commonly misidentified as locusts

*All cicadas spend their lives underground until they become adults. Some types emerge yearly (annual) and some emerge every 13 or 17 years (periodical).

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Lisa Vankula

I am a mother, runner, writer and a lover of all creatures, creepy, crawly and furry. I am a freelance humour columnist for a Central Queensland newspaper.

“The bug-investigation” – Locust, grasshopper, cricket or katydid?

F or this post, I will call the F.B.I “Florian bug investigation” to solve a case! You’ll learn everything about cricket, katydid and grasshopper!

The scene crime : A crop has been eaten by an unidentified specie and I need the help of the bug-inspector to find which insect has committed this crime!

Some potential suspects have been identified :

  • Lady Grace Hopper
  • Mister Pat’crick Et
  • Sir Luke Ust
  • Miss Katy Did

Why talking about cricket?

I first planned to make an “Edible Orthopteran World Tour” with some examples of different katydid, grasshopper, cricket and locusts eaten all around the world but thanks to my mom I changed my plan!

When I brought her some crickets for my taste-review . Our conversation was :
-“It’s good! So, this a grasshopper, right?”
-“No mum, this a cricket!”
-“And what about katydids, what are the differences?

I realized that I wasn’t able to give her a clear answer…So I decided to work on the subject and I wanna share my results with you but a with a little bit of fun (talking about ovipositors and cerci can be boring for some of you…) I hope you will enjoy it! We won’t speak much about food in this article but don’t be sad, this article will be the perfect introduction for my “Edible Orthopteran World Tour”.

Let’s start our “bug-investigation : Can I see your papers, please”The binomial name & the misunderstandings between the languages

F or being able to clearly identify clearly our culprit, the bug-spector will need to work with the “binomial name”. It’s the latin name that is defined through a well-established hierarchy. As it is unique for each specie regardless the language, no misunderstanding will be possible!

W e will see now that some problems are possible if we use different languages… Here is the example between the english and the french language:
The word “cricket” comes from the french “un criquet” but in french it is “un grillon“.
A “grasshopper” which is very alike “une sauterelle” is in fact “un criquet
And “katydid“? Easy, let’s call it “une sauterelle“.
A “locust” is “une locuste“! Yes, that is easy! But in french, we very rarely use this word and prefer “migratory grasshopper” instead…

Y ou understand better now, why is it so hard (This one is for you DGG, I hope you will like it!) for the F.B.I (Florian Bug Investigation) and the C.I.A (Checking Insect Authentification) if they want to work together and they don’t speak the same language!

Other terms are used in english: The bush cricket or long-horned grasshopper refers to the katydid, the short-horned grasshopper is a grasshopper or a locust.

Profiles of the suspectsWhat are their common points?

I t seems that our 4 suspects are belonging to the Orthoptera family so let’s start with a surveillance in order to know better this family… It will be easier for the bug-inspector to find the culprit if he knows the common points of all the potential suspects!

Thank you so much for your help Horacio!

They all belong to the Orthoptera family (which means “straight-wings” in greek).
The Orthopteran family is composed approximately of 24,000 different species 1 of grasshoppers, katydids, locusts, crickets and some other members. These other members are the wetas and the mole-crickets.
There are more than 11,000 species of grasshoppers; 6,400 of katydids; 900 of crickets and 12 of locusts.
Note : All the different families of insects are defined by the characteristics of their wings.

Katydids, crickets, grasshoppers and locusts have in common their hind legs that allow them to jump. This capacity of high jumping is also useful for a safer take-off. 1

Most of these insects are “singing”. The scientific name for this song is the “stridulation“. They produce this sound by rubbering some different body parts together. For the cricket, it is commonly said that he is chirping.

They all have an incomplete metamorphosis. (Except the wings, the juvenile looks the same as the adult, they only grow in size). The scientific term is “paurometabolous”.

Establishing a facial compositeThe physical differences

I f at first glance, they all look the same, there are a lot of little differences just in front of us! The inspector needs to seek the clues in order to find the culprit.

When I take a closer look, I don’t think he’s working so much…

The easiest way to differentiate a caelifera from an ensifera is to take a look at the antennas :

  • If they are short : It is a Caelifera, so a grasshopper or a locust.
  • If they are long : It is an Ensifera, so a cricket or a katydid.

The female of the cricket and the katydid have a longer and more visible ovipositor than the grasshopper and the locust. The ovipositor is used for laying the eggs into the soil.

We saw that the katydid and the cricket have both a long ovipositor. In order to differentiate them, you can take a look at the cerci, they are more visible on the cricket. If you don’t see them, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist, even when they are small they are useful. The cerci are full of sensory cells that areimportant for their reproduction! Don’t worry, that’s not a weapon!

We can also differentiate a cricket from a katydid by their hind legs. The hind legs of the katydids are close to the body. For the crickets instead, they are slightly apart from the body.

The color is not a deciding factor. We can only say that crickets are rarely green. The solitary locust is often brown, adults swarming are black and yellow and immature are pink 2 . The grasshoppers can be green or brown but some of them can be orange, pink or even red and blue.
For example : Check out this awesome Dactylotum Bicolor.

The size of the wings and the ability to fly are nor a deciding factor : Only the locusts are all able to fly, some crickets, katydids and grasshoppers can have atrophied wings that don’t allow them to fly. If you take a second look at the previous picture, you will see what the atrophied wings look like.

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The questioningThe differences in the manners and behaviors

B y taking a look a closer look at them, we have seen some physical differences. The noose is tightening for our culprit, but that’s not finished! The F.B.I needs to go further. They show also different manners and behaviors. The inspector will now proceed to the questioning to know the habits of the suspects.

I thank my sister for this fantastic role! You deserve an Oscar!

On the 11,000 species of grasshoppers, only a dozen can turn into “locusts”.
A green or brown grasshopper lives a solitary peaceful life, but some of them can turn into their darker alter-ego, the locust. It happen when they are too much in a little space for a long time that lead to a battle for food.
This overcrowding causes a release of serotonin. The grasshoppers become bigger, change their colors from green or brown to black and yellow, they eat more and are able to fly longer. They are now some swarming locusts which live with gregarious manners.
On their sides, crickets are generally gregarious whereas the katydids are solitaries.
There is an exception for the Mormont cricket, but don’t be so impatient, this little guy will have his own chapter in the “Edible Orthopteran World Tour”)

As grasshoppers are vegetarian and eat calmly some grass, locusts will become omnivorous and will eat almost everything that can contains some cellulose including grass, crops, leather and even the fence posts and the wool of the sheeps! 3
Crickets are omnivorous scavengers. They feed on organic materials, fungi and seeding plants.
The katydids are omnivorous too but some species can be carnivorous and feed on other insects.

During the day, generally a cricket or a katydid stay hidden and leaves his hideaway at dusk. They are nocturnal insects that’s why it is more common to hear a cricket stridulating at night. The grasshoppers and the locusts are diurnal insects and you will be able to see them during the day.

We saw earlier that most of these insects are able to sing, but these stridulations are different. They are different by how it sounds and how it is produced. The grasshoppers and the locusts produce their song by rubbing their hind legs with their wings. The crickets and the katydids rub their forewings together for making the stridulations.

The sentenceAre they all edible?

T he case is solved! Our culprit was the locust! And as a sentence, he will be consumed dried with some spices! (What a barbarious sentence…) But are all these species edible?

F or giving a general answer, I will quote The Bug Chef, David George Gordon 4 :

Red, orange, or yellow – forgo this small fellow. Black, green or brown – go ahead and toss him down.

If they show some shiny colors, it’s surely a warning-signal for saying “Don’t eat me, I’m toxic“. If they are brown or green they maybe want to try to hide the fact that they are delicious

There are approximately 250 recorded species of Orthopteran eaten all around the world. That is only the recorded species, there must bea lot more of them that are surely edible!

Insects taste what they have eaten. So carnivorous katydids or grasshoppers who have eaten some toxic plants should be avoided.

An entire post, “The Edible Orthopteran World Tour” will be dedicated for these edible singers!

After the work, relaxationSome facts about these insects

A fter this hard investigation, our inspector deserves some relaxation!(By the way, you too!) So here are some funny and interesting facts about these insects!

The crickets and the katydids have their ears on their legs whereas grasshoppers have them on their abdomen. 5

The biggest swarm in history according to The Guinness World Records occurred in 1875 in Nebraska. The specie involved was the Rocky Mountain Locust (Melanoplus spretus). This swarm weighed an estimated 27.5 million tonnes and consisted of some 12.5 trillion insects! And less than 30 years after this gigantic swarm, this specie was completely extinct… (For more information, about this story, check out this video 3 )

There is a more lucrative way than rearing crickets for food. In China, cricket fighting is very popular and some crickets can be sold more than 2,000$ in the black market. 6

The famous artist Salvador Dali was totally scared by the grasshoppers. He saids : “If i were on the edge of a precipice and a large grasshopper sprang upon me and fastened itself to my face, I should prefer to fling my self over the edge rather than endure this frightful ‘thing’”. 7
The phobia of insects is called “entomophobia”.

Despite the fact that a dozen of species are considered as locusts, the migratory locust (Locusta Migratoria) is the one and unique member of the “Locusta” gender.

A specie of grasshopper that lives in a solitary way had unusually swarmed in New-Mexico. According to the scientists, “it may be a first evolutionary step towards this specie becoming a locust in a distant future“. 8


F rom a personal point of view, I had really appreciated working on this post. For me, it was very fun and instructional. I learned a lot of things, that I’m sure will be useful for my future works!
I hope you had fun too and you enjoyed this post. Maybe you had even learn something about these jumping fellows!
If you liked the main idea of this article and if you want to improve it, give me some advices or correct some eventual mistakes, I’m all ears! (on my legs)

T ake care of you!

F lorian

Horacio is ready for the “Edible Orthopteran Tour” and you?

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