Grasshopper facts

Grasshopper facts

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Fun Grasshopper Facts for Kids

Check out our fun grasshopper facts for kids. Learn about the many different species of grasshopper, how far a grasshopper can jump, how locusts are a type of grasshopper and much more.

Read on and enjoy a variety of interesting information about grasshoppers.

Grasshoppers are an insect from the suborder Caelifera and the order Orthoptera.

Locusts are actually species of short-horned grasshoppers, they often gather in large swarms and can destroy entire fields of crops, because a single grasshopper can eat half its body weight in plants per day. In just the U.S. they cause about $1.5 billion in damage to grazing lands each year.

There are around 11,000 known species of grasshopper found around the world, often inhabiting grassy fields, meadow and forest areas.

Grasshoppers have two antennae, 6 legs, two pairs of wings and small little pinchers to tear off food such as grasses, leaves and cereal crops.

Some species of grasshopper species make noises by either rubbing their back legs against the forewings or body, or by snapping their wings when flying.

Grasshoppers grow to around 2 inches (5 cm), with some growing as big as 5 inches (12.7cm). Female are usually larger than males.

Grasshoppers are often colored in a way that camouflages them in their local habitat, green ones in grassy fields, sandy colored in dirt and desert areas.

Grasshoppers can jump about 25cm high and around 1 meter long. If humans could jump as far as grasshoppers do, relative to size, then we could leap more than the length of a football field.

The grasshopper can jump as far as it does because its hind legs act like miniature catapults. It bends its legs at the knee, mechanism within the knee works like a spring, storing up energy. When the grasshopper is ready to jump, it relaxes the leg muscles, allowing the spring to release flinging it into the air.

Grasshoppers are commonly eaten in African, Central and South American countries, the insect is a very good source of protein.

Grasshopper facts

The name Grasshopper describes a number of insects that fall under the scientific “suborder” Caelifera, which is in the order Orthoptera. Within this suborder there are over 11,000 species of grasshopper. That’s a lot of types of grasshoppers!

Like all insects the grasshopper has six legs, a head, thorax, and abdomen. It also has an exoskeleton which is a hard outer surface that protects its softer insides. They have two pairs of wings. The back wings are larger while the front wings are small and fairly hard. Their back legs are large helping them to jump.

They are normally brown in color, but they can vary in color including yellowish brown, reddish brown, and light green. Some are even striped.

These insects live all around the world except where it is too cold like the north and south poles. They have adapted to most every habitat including deserts, forests, and grasslands.

What do they eat?

Grasshoppers eat plants, primarily leaves, grasses, and cereal crops. A lot of grasshoppers can eat a lot of food and can cause serious problems for farmers by eating all of their crops.

How do Grasshoppers make noise?

Male grasshoppers will make a singing sound by rubbing a hind leg against one of their hard forewings. The rough leg causes the wing to vibrate and make a sound, almost like a bow playing a violin.

How are they different from Crickets?

Grasshoppers and Crickets are similar insects, both being of the order Orthoptera, but they are different and actually are in different scientific suborders. The main differences may be hard to see:

  • Grasshoppers have shorter antennae than crickets.
  • Grasshoppers make sounds by rubbing their forelegs against their wings, while crickets rub their wings together.
  • Grasshoppers hear with their abdomen, while crickets listen with their legs.
  • Grasshoppers are diurnal (active during the day). Crickets are nocturnal (active during the night).
  • Grasshoppers only eat plants, while crickets will eat other animals and are omnivorous.

What are locusts?

Locusts are a type of grasshopper. They typically live alone, but are famous for forming giant swarms that can swoop down and destroy massive areas of crops.

Fun Facts about Grasshoppers

  • A lot of people around the world eat grasshoppers. They are a good source of protein.
  • They lay eggs that hatch into nymphs. As the nymphs grow into full size adults they will molt many times.
  • The villains in the movie A Bug’s Life by Pixar are grasshoppers.
  • They have many predators including birds, sp >

10 Fascinating Facts About Grasshoppers

Find Out More About These Amazing Insects That Predate Dinosaurs

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Animals & Nature

Famed fable writer Aesop portrayed the grasshopper as a ne’er do well who fiddled away his summer days without a thought to the future but in the real world, the destruction wreaked by grasshoppers on farming and ranching is far from a harmless parable. Although grasshoppers are extremely common, there’s more to these summertime critters than meets the eye. Here’s a list of 10 fascinating grasshopper-related facts.

1. Grasshoppers and Locusts Are One and the Same

When we think of grasshoppers, most people recall pleasant childhood memories of trying to catch the jumping insects in meadows or backyards. Say the word locusts, however, and it brings to mind images of historic plagues raining down destruction on crops and devouring every plant in sight.

Truth be told, grasshoppers and locusts are members of the same insect order. While certain species are commonly referred to grasshoppers and others as locusts, both creatures are short-horned members of the order Orthoptera. Jumping herbivores with shorter antennae are grouped into the suborder Caelifera, while their longer-horned brethren (crickets and katydids) belong to the suborder Ensifera.

2. Grasshoppers Have Ears on Their Bellies

The grasshopper’s auditory organs are found not on the head, but rather, on the abdomen. A pair of membranes that vibrate in response to sound waves are located one on either side of the first abdominal segment, tucked under the wings. This simple eardrum, called a tympanal organ, allows the grasshopper to hear the songs of its fellow grasshoppers.

3. Although Grasshoppers Can Hear, They Can’t Distinguish Pitch Very Well

As with most insects, the grasshopper’s auditory organs are simple structures. They can detect differences in intensity and rhythm, but not pitch. The male grasshopper’s song isn’t particularly melodic which is a good thing since females don’t care whether or not a fellow can carry a tune. Each species of grasshopper produces a characteristic rhythm that distinguishes its song from others and enables courting males and females of a given species to find one another.

4. Grasshoppers Make Music by Stridulating or Crepitating

If you’re not familiar with those terms, don’t worry. It’s not all that complicated. Most grasshoppers stridulate, which simply means that they rub their hind legs against their forewings to produce their trademark tunes. Special pegs on the inside of the hind leg act like a percussion instrument of sorts when they come in contact with the thickened edge of the wing. The band-winged grasshoppers crepitate or loudly snap their wings as they fly.

5. Grasshoppers Catapult Themselves Into the Air

If you’ve ever tried to catch a grasshopper, you know how far they can jump to flee danger. If humans could jump the way grasshoppers do, we would be able to easily leap the length of a football field. How do these insects jump so far? It’s all in those big, back legs. A grasshopper’s hind legs function like miniature catapults. In preparation for a jump, the grasshopper contracts its large flexor muscles slowly, bending its hind legs at the knee joint. A special piece of cuticle within the knee acts as a spring, storing up all the potential energy. The grasshopper then relaxes its leg muscles, allowing the spring to release its energy and fling the insect into the air.

6. Grasshoppers Can Fly

Because grasshoppers have such powerful jumping legs, people sometimes don’t realize that they also have wings. Grasshoppers use their jumping ability to give them a boost into the air but most are pretty strong fliers and make good use of their wings to escape predators.

7. Grasshoppers Cause Billions of Dollars in Damage to Food Crops Annually

One lone grasshopper can’t do too much harm, although it eats about half its body weight in plants each day—but when locusts swarm, their combined feeding habits can completely defoliate a landscape, leaving farmers without crops and people without food. In the U.S. alone, grasshoppers cause about $1.5 billion in damage to grazing lands each year. In 1954, a swarm of Desert locusts (Schistocerca gregaria) consumed over 75 square miles of wild and cultivated plants in Kenya.

8. Grasshoppers Are an Important Source of Protein

People have been consuming locusts and grasshoppers for centuries. According to the Bible, John the Baptist ate locusts and honey in the wilderness. Locusts and grasshoppers are a regular dietary component in local diets in many areas of Africa, Asia, and the Americas—and since they’re packed with protein, they’re an important nutritional staple as well.

9. Grasshoppers Existed Long Before Dinosaurs

Modern-day grasshoppers descend from ancient ancestors that lived long before dinosaurs roamed the Earth. The fossil record shows that primitive grasshoppers first appeared during the Carboniferous period, more than 300 million years ago. Most ancient grasshoppers are preserved as fossils, although grasshopper nymphs (the second stage in the grasshopper lifestyle after the initial egg phase) are occasionally found in amber.

10. Grasshoppers May “Spit” Liquid to Defend Themselves

If you’ve ever handled grasshoppers, you’ve probably had a few of them spit brown liquid on you in protest. Scientists believe this behavior is a means of self-defense, and the liquid helps the insects repel predators. Some people say grasshoppers spit “tobacco juice,” probably because historically, grasshoppers have been associated with tobacco crops. Rest assured, however, the grasshoppers aren’t using you as a spittoon.


Grasshoppers are the insects which are famous for their long jumps and making a chirping sound. They have adapted themselves very well for their survival. They have an excellent camouflage, that can blend them almost completely in the surroundings of their habitats. There are about 11,000 different species of grasshoppers that are living around the world.

What Do They Look Like?

Grasshoppers have a long body with six legs. Their back legs are large which help them to jump very high. Their body is divided into 3 parts; a head, a thorax, and an abdomen.

They have a strong exoskeleton which protects their soft body. They have a pair of large wings at their back and a pair of smaller wings on the front. Grasshoppers have a wide range of colors that change from species to species.

Grasshoppers can eat both plants and small insects. It depends on their location what they will eat. Grasshoppers are very good hunters, their camouflage helps them a lot to succeed in the hunt. Many species of grasshoppers love to eat human-produced crops, e.g. wheat. They cause serious damage to the crops and sometimes eating all the crops.

Grasshoppers are one of the insects that are found all across the world. They are found in forests, grasslands, swamps, deserts, and mountains.

Conservation Status

Grasshoppers population is stable. They are not endangered.


Grasshoppers are herbivorous insects of the suborder Caelifera in the order Orthoptera. To distinguish them from bush crickets or katydids, they are sometimes referred to as short-horned grasshoppers. Species that change colour and behaviour at high population densities are called locusts.

A Grasshopper is an amazing insect that can leap 20 times the length of its own body. If you or I could do that, we would be able to jump almost 40 yards!

A Grasshopper does not actually ‘jump’. What they do is use their legs as a catapult. Grasshoppers can both jump and fly and they can reach a speed of 8 miles per hour when flying. There are about 18,000 different species of grasshoppers.

Grasshopper Characteristics

Grasshoppers are medium to large insects. Adult length is 1 to 7 centimetres, depending on the species. Like their relatives the ‘katydids’ and ‘crickets’, they have chewing mouthparts, two pairs of wings, one narrow and tough, the other wide and flexible, and long hind legs for jumping. They are different from these groups in having short antennae that do not reach very far back on their bodies.

Grasshoppers usually have large eyes, and are coloured to blend into their environment, usually a combination of brown, grey or green. In some species the males have bright colours on their wings that they use to attract females. A few species eat toxic plants, and keep the toxins in their bodies for protection. They are brightly coloured to warn predators that they taste bad.

Female grasshoppers are larger than the males and have sharp points at the end of their abdomen that are there to help them lay eggs underground. Male grasshoppers sometimes have special structures on their wings that they rub their hind legs on or rub together to make sounds.

Grasshoppers can be found almost everywhere in the world, except for the colder regions near the North and South poles.

Types of Grasshopper

There are two main groups of grasshoppers:

(1) long-horned grasshoppers

(2) short-horned grasshoppers

Grasshoppers are divided according to the length of their antennae (feelers), which are also called horns. Short-horned grasshoppers are usually called ‘locusts’.

Grasshopper Habitat and Grasshopper Diet

Grasshoppers live in fields, meadows and just about anywhere they can find generous amounts of food to eat. A grasshopper has a hard shell and a full grown grasshopper is about one and a half inches, being so small you would not think they would eat much – but you would be so wrong – they eat lots and lots – an average grasshopper can eat 16 time its own weight.

The grasshoppers favourite foods are grasses, leaves and cereal crops. One particular grasshopper – the Shorthorn grasshopper only eats plants, but it can go berserk and eat every plant in sight – makes you wander where they put it all.

Grasshopper Behaviour

Grasshoppers are most active during the day, but also feed at night. They do not have nests or territories and some species go on long migrations to find new supplies of food. Most species are solitary and only come together to mate, but the migratory species sometimes gather in huge groups of millions or even billions of individuals.

When a grasshopper is picked up, they ‘spit’ a brown liquid which is known as ‘tobacco juice’. Some scientists believe that this liquid may protect grasshoppers from attacks by insects such as ants and other predators – they ‘spit’ the liquid at them then catapult up and fly off quickly.

Grasshoppers also try to escape from their enemies hiding in the grass or among leaves. If you have ever tried to catch grasshoppers in a field, you know how quickly they can disappear by dropping down into the tall grass.

Grasshopper Predators

The grasshoppers greatest enemies include various kinds of flies that lay their eggs in or near grasshopper eggs. After the fly eggs hatch, the newborn flies eat the grasshopper eggs. Some flies will even lay their eggs on the grasshoppers body, even while the grasshopper is flying. The newborn flies then eat the grasshopper. Other enemies of grasshoppers include beetles, birds, mice, snakes and spiders.

Grasshopper Facts

  1. 1. Classification: Grasshoppers Are Locusts
  2. 2. Lifecycle: Grasshoppers Go through Three Stages of Development
  3. 3. Flight: Grasshoppers Do Actually Fly
  4. 4. Movement: Grasshoppers Jump the Equivalent Length of a Football Field
  5. 5. Behavior: Grasshoppers Are Diurnal Animals
  6. 6. Anatomy: Grasshoppers’ ‘Ears’ Are on Their Abdomens
  7. 7. Sound: Female Male Grasshoppers’ Songs Aren’t Melodic
  8. 8. Sound: Grasshoppers Crepitate or Stridulate to Produce Music
  9. 9. Threats: Swarms of Locusts Can Destroy Food Crops
  10. 10. Migration: Grasshoppers Migrate During Winter

Grasshoppers Are Locusts

Grasshopper External Features (Male and Female)

Grasshoppers Go through Three Stages of Development

A grasshopper’s lifecycle consists of three stages of development: egg, nymph, and adult. Female grasshoppers lay pods containing several eggs in fall, and these then hatch in the spring. The baby grasshopper, known as a nymph, resembles a small adult grasshopper, but without wings. As a nymph grows in size, it will shed its skin about five or six times. It does this by swallowing a large amount of air to split the cuticle so it can break out its exoskeleton. Finally, the nymph develops wings in order to become an adult grasshopper.

Grasshoppers Do Actually Fly

Many people are under the false impression that grasshoppers tend to jump, and not fly. Although grasshoppers have powerful legs that enable them to jump very well, they jump primarily to give them a lift into the air. Grasshoppers do in fact have wings and are actually very strong fliers. The ability to fly is particularly useful when they are trying to escape predators. So a flying grasshopper is a very real thing!

Grasshoppers Jump the Equivalent Length of a Football Field

Grasshoppers Life Cycle

Grasshoppers Are Diurnal Animals

Grasshoppers are diurnal, which means they rest at night and are active during the day. This is largely because grasshoppers need to absorb sunlight in order to raise their body temperature so that they have their required energy. This then enables them to be active during the day. However, they are also known to sometimes feed at night. Midnight snack anyone?

Grasshoppers’ ‘Ears’ Are on Their Abdomens

One of the most intriguing grasshopper facts is that a grasshopper’s ‘ears’ are located on its abdomen. On either side of the first abdominal segment, just beneath the wings, is a simple eardrum. These eardrums, called tympana, consist of membranes that vibrate in response to sound waves. The tympanum enables the grasshopper to hear the noises emitted by other grasshoppers.

Female Male Grasshoppers’ Songs Aren’t Melodic

Jumping Robot Mimic a Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers Crepitate or Stridulate to Produce Music

Most of us are probably familiar with the sound of grasshoppers in the garden. However, one of the most surprising grasshopper facts involves the way in which these insects create these songs. Most male grasshoppers stridulate in order to produce music. This means they rub their hind leg against their forewing. Special pegs located on the inside of their hind legs come into contact with the thickened edge of their forewing. This works in a similar way to a percussion instrument, producing the characteristic grasshopper sound. Other grasshoppers crepitate when making their music. This applies to band-winged grasshoppers, which snap their wings loudly while they are in flight. Now that’s in-flight music with a difference!

Swarms of Locusts Can Destroy Food Crops

A grasshopper will eat approximately half its body weight in plant material every day. That might sound like a lot, but a solitary grasshopper won’t cause that much damage. It’s when they are in swarms that they become a potential threat. One of the more unfortunate grasshopper facts is that the combined effect from a swarm feeding on plants can completely defoliate an area. Farmers’ crops are then destroyed, including important sources of food. Grasshoppers incur damage in grazing lands to the sum of $1.5 billion every year in the US alone.

Grasshoppers Migrate During Winter

Although migration is something that we typically associate with birds, grasshoppers also migrate during the colder months of the year. They tend to migrate in large groups, or swarms. One of the most astonishing grasshopper facts is that a single swarm can consist of millions, or even billions, of grasshoppers! Migration enables grasshoppers to find better sources of food during the winter months when crops are scarcer. Incredibly, grasshoppers can remain in the air for as long as three days without landing.

Grasshoppers Have 5 Eyes

Grasshoppers have certain anatomical features that are common to all insects. A grasshopper’s body consists of three parts: the head, thorax and abdomen. Grasshoppers also have six legs, two antennae and two pairs of wings. These thin antennae are usually the length of the grasshopper’s body, although they can be longer. What you probably didn’t know is that grasshoppers are equipped with five eyes. There is a large eye on either side of a grasshopper’s head, each equipped with thousands of lenses. This enables grasshoppers to see in all directions. A grasshopper also has three smaller eyes, one at the base of each antenna and one between the two antennae. The purpose of these three smaller eyes is as yet unknown by scientists.

Grasshoppers Spit Brown Juice as a Defense Mechanism

One of the most distasteful grasshopper facts is that grasshoppers are known to spit brown juice as a means of defense. It is thought that they do this to repel predators. In the past, grasshoppers were associated with tobacco crops, which led people to say that this brown liquid was actually tobacco juice. However, this is not the case. So, there’s no need to place spittoons in your gardens for these little critters.

Grasshoppers Are Older than Dinosaurs

The very first primitive grasshoppers appear in fossils from the Carboniferous Period, which occurred more than 300 million years ago. Later, during the Triassic Period, which occurred more than 200 million years ago, the ancestors of the modern day grasshoppers evolved. This was at the same time that the first reptiles appeared on Earth. Although most of this information is gleaned from grasshoppers preserved in fossils, some grasshopper nymphs were preserved in amber.

Grasshoppers Consume Toxins

There are a few species of grasshoppers that actually feed on toxic plants. One of the most fascinating grasshopper facts is that, strangely enough, this actually works to their advantage. These grasshoppers contain the toxins in their bodies, which they then utilize as a form of protection: their bodies are brightly colored, which warns predators that these insects are full of toxins, and are unappetizing.

People Worldwide Regularly Eat Grasshoppers

Some Grasshoppers Are Endangered

Although the conservation status of grasshoppers in general is of least concern, there are some species of grasshopper that are in fact considered to be endangered. This is primarily due to a loss of their natural habitat which has occurred as a result of urban development and an increase in agriculture.

Grasshoppers Are Considered Lucky in Japan

As unusual as this may sound, grasshoppers are considered to be a sign of good luck in Japan. In general, the green grasshopper is associated with fresh beginnings, growth, health, rejuvenation, youth, nature, adventure and sentimentality.

Grasshoppers Feature in Many Popular Movies

A Bug’s Life is a well-known and much-loved animated film by Pixar. The villains in this movie are actually grasshoppers! These grasshoppers are depicted as greedy creatures. The main antagonist is a grasshopper named Hopper, who is voiced by Kevin Spacey. Hopper also appeared in the film It’s Tough To Be A Bug!, where his voice was provided by Andrew Stanton.

Grasshopper Facts – Facts about Grasshoppers Summary

Thousands of species of grasshopper live in almost every climate on Earth. These diurnal insects have several distinctive features, including their ability to jump and fly very well. Even though they can be crop pests in swarms, they are seen as a delicacy or good luck charm in different cultures.

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