Where does grasshopper come from red


Photo: Salvador Vitanza

Common Name(s): Differential Grasshopper, Grasshoppers, lubber grasshopper, migratory grasshopper, Packard grasshopper, red-legged grasshopper, two-striped grasshopper


Grasshoppers undergo gradual metamorphosis as the nymphs (immature insects) molt to the next growth stage. This means that nymphs look very much like adults, except that the nymphs do not have fully developed wings. If a grasshopper’s wings are fully developed, then it is an adult. The long hind pair of legs is well adapted for jumping, and adults are good fliers over short distances.

There are many color variations according to species, and many species are well camouflaged and difficult to see unless they move. Other species are brightly colored.

All grasshoppers have mandibles (teeth) and damage plants by chewing chunks of tissue from leaves and other plant parts. The feeding usually begins on outside edges of leaves and the chewed area has ragged or irregular edges. This often looks quite different from the smoother, more even damage done by caterpillars.

Origin and Distribution

Grasshoppers are distributed worldwide and occasionally reach serious pest outbreak status causing major crop loss. Occasionally, large flights of grasshoppers are detected on radar.

Habitat & Hosts

Almost any type of plant including corn, alfalfa, Bermudagrass, cotton, millet, peanut, rice, ryegrass, sorghum, Sudangrass, soybean, sugarcane, vegetables, wheat, flowers and landscape plants.

Life Cycle

Grasshoppers deposit their eggs 1⁄2 to 2 inches below the soil surface in pod-like structures. Each egg pod consists of 20 to 120 elongated eggs cemented together. The whole mass is somewhat egg-shaped. Egg pods are very resistant to moisture and cold and easily survive the winter if the soil is not disturbed.

Eggs are deposited in fallow fields, ditches, fencerows, shelter belts and other weedy areas, as well as in crop fields, hay fields and alfalfa. Eggs begin hatching in late April or early May. Hatching peaks about mid-June and usually ends by late June. If spring weather is cool and extremely dry, hatching may be delayed and continue into July.

Young grasshoppers are called nymphs, and they undergo simple metamorphosis. They look like adults, but are smaller and have wing pads instead of wings. Nymphs go through five or six developmental stages and become adults in 40 to 60 days, depending on weather and food supplies. The adults of grasshopper species that damage crops become numerous in mid-July and deposit eggs from late July through fall. Usually only one generation of grasshoppers is produced each year.

Grasshoppers have a high reproductive capacity. The female lays an average of 200 eggs per season, and sometimes as many as 400 eggs. If favorable weather increases the number of eggs, the grasshopper population may be dramatically larger the following year. Grasshoppers cause some damage every year, but they become very destructive during outbreaks. The main factor affecting grasshopper populations is weather. Outbreaks, or exceptionally large populations, are usually preceded by several years of hot, dry summers and warm autumns. Dry weather increases the survival of nymphs and adults. Warm autumns allow grasshoppers more time to feed and lay eggs.


If you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.

Nosema locustae is a protozoan that can be purchased commercially to treat large areas. Its spores have been incorporated with bran to make insecticide baits such as Semaspore®, Nolo Bait® or Grasshopper Attack®. These baits kill some nymphs but almost no adults, though infected adults lay fewer eggs. Baits act too slowly and kill too few grasshoppers to be useful for immediate control.

When grasshoppers are at low numbers, handpicking them is an option. However, when at high numbers control becomes very difficult and insecticides are warranted.

Home garden control options include:

  • Carbaryl (Sevin)
  • Neem
  • Pyrethrins
  • Synthetic pyrethroids


Red-legged Grasshopper (Melanoplus femurrubrum)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Red-legged Grasshopper.

Updated: 2/27/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content В©www.InsectIdentification.org

Red-Legged Grasshoppers are primary consumers in the food web, feasting on crops as voraciously as the fowl that are trying to devour them.

The Red-legged Grasshopper flies as part of a swarm and when a swarm lands on a field of crops, it can decimate the field leaving the farmer with nothing to harvest. Soybeans, alfalfa, wheat, barley, and other grains are all part of this species’ diet. For this reason, the Red-legged Grasshopper is considered an agricultural pest. It is found in wild, natural prairies also, but its appetite for human produce earned it an unsavory reputation.

In addition to its negative impact on food harvest, the Red-Legged Grasshopper can carry immature tapeworms and other bird parasites inside them. When a quail or wild turkey eats an infected grasshopper, those internal tapeworms and parasites transfer to the bird’s bloodstream and grow, infecting the bird. Grasshoppers have natural predators that help control their population in the wild. They also die from fungal and bacterial infections as well as parasitic nematodes.

Females lay their fertilized eggs in soil. The numerous eggs hatch the following spring and the nymphs start to feed. Nymphs are miniature versions of adults with less developed wings. After molting, nymphs mature into full-grown adults. This process takes about 3 months. Adults remain active until that coming winter. If the spring season sees heavy rainfall, many eggs do not hatch until drier conditions return. When a dry spring does come around, large outbreaks of the Red-legged Grasshopper follow and are difficult to control.


The case of the red-shanked grasshopper

I’m the museum director, and they asked me and my entomologist colleagues whether we could tell where the car had been just by examining the dead bugs.

What the lawmen knew, but I wouldn’t learn for some time, was that the car had been rented in Ohio by someone they suspected in a murder. They theorized that the suspect drove to California, killed his family and then drove back to Ohio.

If, as the defendant claimed, he had never left Ohio, there would be no insects on the radiator from outside that region, reasoned one of the FBI agents. They knew the history of the rental car, that the prior drivers had never left Ohio. So if we found any insects from west of the Rockies, that would discredit the suspect’s alibi.

I wasn’t sure if we could answer the lawmen’s question. There are more than 100,000 kinds of insects just in the U.S., and to our knowledge, no one had ever used insect identification to prove where a car had or hadn’t been.

Like any other animal, most insects have distinctive features and specific habitat requirements. Only a few species, like houseflies, occur everywhere. But would the insects from the car be intact enough to identify? Enough to rule out all the others?

We found 30 individual insects, but mostly we just had pieces of them to work with — a couple of wings and part of a body, or a body and head but no legs. But it is quite possible to make identifications from such fragments if you’re practiced at it and have a collection for comparison.

Six insects told the story. Two were beetles that are known to live only in the eastern U.S. But then we found the large back leg of a grasshopper. Its markings revealed it to be a red-shanked grasshopper (Xanthippus corallipes pantherinus), found no farther east than Kansas and central Texas.

On the radiator was the unmistakable large golden paper wasp (Polistes aurifer), minus a few wings and legs. It can live as far east as Kansas, but it is most abundant in California. And then on the air filter we found two true bugs (Neacoryphus rubicollis and Piesma brachiale or ceramicum), their brightly colored, distinctively sculpted bodies largely intact. These species are found only in Arizona, Utah and Southern California.

The rental car must have passed through states west of Colorado, consistent with the idea that the suspect had driven west on either Interstate 70 or 40. (That also explained the 4,500 or so unaccounted-for miles on the odometer.) The insect analysis was entered into evidence, I testified and, on May 15 in the Bakersfield Superior Court, the jury convicted Vincent Brothers of the murder of his wife, three children and mother-in-law.

It seems like case closed. But there is a problem. The U.S. is losing the taxonomy expertise that makes it possible to identify insect bits on a car radiator, or the exotic mosquito hitchhiking in a container of lucky bamboo, or a stealthy caterpillar sheltered inside a flat of strawberries. I’ve been studying, teaching about and identifying insects for 30 years, but there are few specialists in the wings.

We as a culture have become overly enamored with technology. We’ve lost sight of the fact that it is still much cheaper and faster to have a specialist identify an insect by sight than to have a technician analyze its DNA. No DNA has been sequenced for 99% of insect species, so even if you get a usable sample from a car radiator, there’s nothing on file to match it against.

But accurate insect identification can catch any number of killers — human, pathogen or infestation. Insects feed on us, our crops and our livestock. They give us diseases, such as West Nile virus. New pests are coming into California all the time.

Every state needs insect expertise, but most rely on the Systematic Entomology Laboratory in Maryland, part of the research branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or the goodwill of the few research taxonomists working at universities and museums. The FBI has no insect taxonomic expertise at all.

We need a West Coast diagnostics center like the USDA’s, staffed with specialists who can identify insects by sight as well as DNA. UC Davis and the California Department of Food and Agriculture have proposed creating a world-class biodiversity center at the university that could identify not just pests but also medically important insects and beneficial plants and animals. It could also train the next generation of entomologists. But to build it, we need money — government funds and private donations. Both are hard to come by.

In the meantime, we’re lucky to catch the pests that slip into California. Take the case of the light brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana), a pest from Australia that feeds on more than 200 fruit trees and other plants. Retired UC Berkeley professor Jerry Powell, a taxonomic specialist, trapped one in his Berkeley backyard March 22. Since then, it has been detected in nine counties. The state is taking urgent measures to determine how far it has spread and to rein it in before it damages millions of dollars’ worth of apples, avocados and other fruit.

From criminal trials to medicine to food protection, insects demand our attention. Insects have stories to tell — but only if someone’s there to listen.


Predicting Mars Cuisine: Grasshoppers with a S >

Doug Turnbull is a hard-science-fiction writer. The majority of his books, novellas and short stories confront problems faced by early settlers of other worlds. Turnbull contributed this article to Space.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

The first humans to land and explore Mars will certainly have to bring their food with them. However, if a permanent settlement on Mars is to be both physically and economically sustainable, eventually settlers will have to grow most, if not all of their food on the Red Planet.

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, unlike hardware or electronics, food is a consumable, which means that the settlers will need a continuous supply. Shipping anything to Mars will be monumentally expensive, at least in the early years. Sending a kilogram (2.5 pounds) of basic food to Mars would likely cost many times more than a similar amount of Beluga caviar consumed on Earth. (It costs $7,000 to $10,000 per kilogram to ship material out of Earth’s orbit.)

Second, there will be gaps of roughly 26 months between supply ship arrivals, which means that settlers will have to store some food for two-plus years before a new shipment arrives. It is not possible to ship certain types of food, such as fresh vegetables and fruits, that far — or to store them for many months. In fact, very few foods remain viable over such durations without losing many of the characteristics that make them wholesome and nutritious.

NASA has been funding research into methods of storing food for long periods while keeping astronauts healthy. This work will no doubt be useful. However, there has been only limited research into actually growing food under the conditions plants are likely to encounter on Mars. The Red Planet’s gravity is 38-percent that of Earth, and several plans call for a reduced-pressure environment in the Mars habitats, as well. In the near term, before colonists can construct greenhouses, they will have to use artificial light — from LEDs, for example — to power their plants’ photosynthesis.

NASA has conducted plant-growth research in microgravity aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and in the Long Duration Exposure Facility, a 21,400-lbs. (9,700 kg) cylindrical satellite that orbited Earth for nearly six years in the 1980s. Still, the effects that these factors will have on plant growth, specifically in a Mars environment, are still largely in the theoretical stages of research. Only actual plant-research experiments that simulate conditions in Mars’s gravity and pressure can answer those questions.

Multiple approaches exist to create this type of simulation. A manned construction in low-Earth orbit could simulate a low-gravity environment. Placing a laboratory near the International Space Station (ISS) would be one logical way of doing this; the lab’s shipment of supplies and crew could travel along with those for the ISS.

The technology to build a lab like this exists today. For example, the craft structure would consist of a tether a couple hundred meters (around 650 feet) in length, with the lab on one end and a spent, final-stage booster rocket at the other. The lab would have to remain close enough so the crew could escape in the event of a failure, or dock with the ISS to replenish food. Powered by two solar panels pointed toward the sun, the lab would rotate at two revolutions per minute (rpm), simulating Mars’s gravity. (Two rpm is the maximum rotational period crew members could tolerate without running the danger of dizziness and disorientation).

The lab could be cylindrical and divided into several sections, like the layers of a cake. One section could house the crew, and another the plants in experimental growing media, such as simulated Mars soil or fluid for hydroponic gardening. A third section could contain the physical equipment necessary to keep the lab supplied with power, the air filtered, the water recycled, the rotation stable and so on. The lab section would have to replicate the atmospheric pressure suggested for future Mars habitats by Dr. Robert Zubrin, President of The Mars Society. Due to the reduced air pressure, the crew’s section might need to have elevated oxygen levels, while the plant section would require elevated carbon dioxide levels to foster plant growth. (Special precautions would be necessary to minimize the danger of fire in the high-oxygen environment.)

When working in the plant section, crew members would need to wear oxygen masks, similar to those worn by high-altitude fliers. Under conditions similar to those expected on Mars, plant studies could determine which species would thrive and which would not.

For this to become a viable possibility, NASA engineers would have to solve some daunting technological materials-science and physics issues. But if it turns out that this type of lab is not possible, other alternatives exist.

Unmanned spacecraft can carry experiments and float freely in Earth’s orbit, as the Long Duration Exposure Facility did. Technology already exists for enclosed units containing plants with automated plant-watering systems. LED lights have an average lifetime of 15,000 to 25,000 hours, amounting to nearly 10 years with seven hours of daily light exposure for plants.

Other technology could tackle the problem of simulating gravity. Every satellite must maintain altitude and rotation control, which is managed by the satellite’s attitude and orbit control system, part of its onboard systems bus. Engineers could configure this system to emulate Mars’ gravity. Indeed, the Mars Gravity Biosatellite competition (created by the Mars Society following a brainstorm session between Dr. Zubrin and Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX) provides a model for how to do this. That project, which focused on studying mammals in Mars gravity, could possibly be adapted for the study of plants.

Even without such studies, it is still possible to speculate about food sources for Mars settlers. Initially, a vegetarian diet would seem logical, as it is the simplest in terms of agricultural management. Soybeans provide basic proteins capable of sustaining human health. Greens, sprouts and even seaweed may help create a balanced diet. Indeed, astronauts have successfully grown peas and mizuna lettuce in space, along with carbohydrate staples like wheat and rice. All would be likely choices as mainstay foods — if they can thrive under Mars-like conditions.

Mars will lack direct sunlight and other sources of nutrients that people take for granted here on Earth. At least in the early years, Red Planet residents will not have access to fruits containing vitamin C, so they would have to rely on vitamins, just as astronauts do today.

All of the above-mentioned crops can grow hydroponically to conserve space and resources. Some experiments growing plants in simulated Martian soil have also met with success. In addition to providing a food source, greenery offers the added benefits of converting carbon dioxide exhaled by settlers into oxygen, essential for maintaining a long-term, bio-regenerative life support system. Plants also provide the psychological benefits of relaxation and a general sense of well-being.

On to what probably drew the reader to this article in the first place: Fungi, specifically mushrooms, are excellent, low-maintenance food sources that require little or no light. Mushrooms provide essential nutrients, including vitamin D and vitamin B-6. Easy to grow and harvest, mushrooms are ingredients in many popular dishes. The fungi could grow in compost created using waste material from other agricultural processes, as well as sanitary waste. This use of waste material would be part of a self-sustaining system.

Mars settlers could also turn to grasshoppers as an additional food resource. While not popular in most European countries and the Anglo-sphere, grasshoppers are a major source of animal protein in Asia, Africa and South America. They have a tremendous advantage over many other meat sources because of their extremely efficient conversion of vegetable matter into insect protein. Grasshoppers are twice as efficient when converting vegetable mass into protein as pigs, and five times as efficient as cattle.

In addition, the husbandry associated with raising grasshoppers is relatively simple compared to that needed for cattle, chickens or hogs, and their rapid reproduction rate and short life cycle allows a stable and continuous harvest. Finally, it would be much easier to transport insects to Mars than to send large animals.

The insects could become part of the Mars culture, too. Future settlers on the Red Planet would likely come from all over the world, and many would not suffer from the “Eeeew” factor many Westerners associate with eating insects. So grasshoppers may become a meat staple for Mars residents. Of course, this would depend upon the guaranteed reliability of grasshopper containment systems. Mars settlers certainly would not fare well with the grasshopper equivalent of “Star Trek’s” tribbles.

Speaking of “Star Trek,” a version of its “food replicator” is in the process of moving from science fiction to science fact. Scientists have successfully synthesized meat, using a 3D printer to align stem cells from animals in laboratory Petri dishes, creating both hamburger and chicken from materials that were never part of a living animal. Perhaps in the future, the list of 3D-printed proteins would also include fish.

NASA has also experimented with using 3D printers for making chocolate and even pizza. The grasshoppers would make a better dessert if dipped in the 3D-printed chocolate. Perhaps in the future, the list of 3D-printed proteins will include fish.

While the exact forms that agriculture would take on Mars are still very much an unknown, at least one thing is clear: Before many years have passed, Mars settlers certainly will have developed their own unique cuisine.


She Blinded me with Science: Why are there so many grasshoppers this year?

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A grasshopper is seen at the State Botanical Gardens of Georgia on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013.

A grasshopper is seen at the State Botanical Gardens of Georgia.

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Question: Why have there been so many grasshoppers this year?

Answer: That’s a really good point! On top of the cicadas this year, there have been a lot of noisy insects flying around in Georgia.

“I’ve noticed there are a lot more than usual this year also,” said William Hudson, a professor and extension specialist of entomology. “I think it all goes back to the amount of rain we had and if you think about all the lush, green vegetation growing along the side of the roads and especially compared to the last few seasons that we’ve had, it was just a really good year for grasshoppers.”

Hudson said grasshoppers eat young, green plants. In previous seasons, there have been more hot, dry spells to toughen up the vegetation — hence more prime grasshopper food.

Hudson said their peak season is almost over.

“Around here it’s in the summertime,” he said. “They aren’t active in the winter. They’ve got to have actively growing plants to feed on — they like the tender, young foliage. In south Georgia that’ll run — you’ll have a grasshopper season that’s 10 to 11 months. Up here in north Georgia it’s much shorter than that of course.”

Right now the adults are laying their eggs, mostly in the ground, where they’ll stay dormant all winter.

Grasshoppers, crickets and katydids belong to the taxonomical order Orthoptera, and there are more than 20,000 species in this group worldwide.

The big differences between grasshoppers and crickets are:

– Grasshoppers sing by rubbing their hind legs against their wings. Crickets just rub their wings together.

– Grasshoppers have short antennae. Crickets have long ones.

– Grasshoppers are out all day. Crickets prefer to come out at dusk.

Editor’s note: To submit a question to She Blinded Me with Science, send it to The Red & Black’s science beat reporter, Jeanette Kazmierczak, @sciencekaz.


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