Where does grasshopper come from water
- Grasshopper Characteristics
- Types of Grasshopper
- Grasshopper Habitat and Grasshopper Diet
- Grasshopper Behaviour
- Grasshopper Predators
- 10 Fascinating Facts About Grasshoppers
- Find Out More About These Amazing Insects That Predate Dinosaurs
- 1. Grasshoppers and Locusts Are One and the Same
- 2. Grasshoppers Have Ears on Their Bellies
- 3. Although Grasshoppers Can Hear, They Can’t Distinguish Pitch Very Well
- 4. Grasshoppers Make Music by Stridulating or Crepitating
- 5. Grasshoppers Catapult Themselves Into the Air
- 6. Grasshoppers Can Fly
- 7. Grasshoppers Cause Billions of Dollars in Damage to Food Crops Annually
- 8. Grasshoppers Are an Important Source of Protein
- 9. Grasshoppers Existed Long Before Dinosaurs
- 10. Grasshoppers May “Spit” Liquid to Defend Themselves
- Grasshopper spit
- Grasshoppers, crickets, katyd > Author(s) David Britton Updated 11/11/18 Read time 2 minutes
- What do Grasshoppers Eat?
- What do Grasshoppers Eat?
- What do Baby Grasshoppers Eat?
- What do Adult Grasshoppers Eat?
- What Can I Feed My Pet Grasshopper?
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.
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.
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.
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.
10 Fascinating Facts About Grasshoppers
Find Out More About These Amazing Insects That Predate Dinosaurs
Jim Simmen / Getty Images
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 familiar insects across the United States. Several hundred species exist and rarely cause gardeners problems, but several species cause widespread garden destruction. Grasshopper damage often occurs in cycles, as populations build from year to year and grasshoppers migrate in search of food. They can fly and jump great distances, due to stout, winged bodies and large, strong hind legs. When numbers are high and grasshoppers are hungry, they devour and defoliate entire gardens.
Identification: Grasshoppers come in many sizes, colors and patterns, often blending in with the greens, browns and yellows of grass and garden plants. Common grasshoppers grow 3/4 to 2 inches long, but some are much smaller or larger. Occasionally mistaken for crickets, grasshoppers have shorter antennae and larger hind legs.
Signs/Damage: Most grasshoppers don’t target specific plants. They prefer young, tender growth, but they’ll feed on all types of plants and plant parts. Their large, chewing mouthparts do extensive damage. Rather than chewing small holes, grasshoppers consume large sections of leaves, flowers, vegetables and fruit.
Control: Grasshoppers often lay their eggs in weedy, unmaintained areas. Then they migrate to cultivated gardens. Effective treatment reaches both gardens and their borders. GardenTech ® brand offers several highly effective options to kill grasshoppers by contact and keep protecting your plants for up to three months:
- Sevin ® Insect Killer Ready to Use simplifies treating target plants and small garden areas. Select the “stream” setting for direct, precision spraying. To treat wider areas, adjust the nozzle to the “spray” setting.
- Sevin ® Insect Killer Granules, applied with a regular lawn spreader, provide effective grasshopper control for lawn and garden areas. Broadcast the ready-to-use granules or use a lawn spreader for full-yard treatments. Then water the area immediately to release the active ingredients.
- Sevin ® Insect Killer Ready to Spray attaches to your garden hose and measures and mixes as you spray. This non-staining formula is ideal for treating grassy borders, larger garden areas and plantings near your home’s foundation.
- Sevin ® Insect Killer Concentrate, used with a pump-style sprayer, simplifies treating lawns, gardens and foundation plantings. Measure the non-staining formula with the measuring cap, add water to your sprayer, and mix well. Cover all surfaces thoroughly to kill existing grasshoppers and protect against new arrivals.
Tip: Keep garden areas and nearby borders free of long grasses and weeds where grasshoppers may lay eggs. Till vegetable gardens in fall and spring to expose overwintering eggs and reduce grasshopper populations.
Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully, including guidelines for pre-harvest intervals on edible crops.
GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.
Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.
The seasonal approach of the days of summer means hot nights, baseball games, family vacations, pool parties, and lots of insects. Summer is insect time for sure! These cold-blooded organisms have to “make hay when the sun shines” in order to complete their life cycles before temperatures decline for the year.
Grasshoppers are insects that we don’t often see until the good ol’ summertime. That is because grasshoppers spend the winter in egg masses in the soil. Those eggs hatch in late spring, and the young hoppers are small and inconspicuous for weeks.
But as grasshoppers mature into adult stages, they grow in size and develop wings. Adult grasshoppers not only jump, but also fly, and that means these insects become more visible to casual observers. That is especially true in grassy habitats where they are often found – after all, these insects are called grasshoppers for good reason!
Grasshoppers are not the favorite insects of most people. Butterflies they are not. That is probably the reason why, in the original storyboards produced 75 years ago for the Disney cartoon movie “Bambi,” a grasshopper didn’t appear in the final product. Here’s the story. The unnamed grasshopper that was created to represent the smaller creatures of the forest was very grumpy and ornery. Ultimately, an engaging little bunny named Thumper filled that small-creature role. I’m not surprised. Most humans prefer fuzzy, warm animals to coldblooded exoskeleton-encased insects. The grumpy grasshopper got booted and Thumper became a star!
Even though grasshoppers can be pests to farmers and gardeners, these jumpers in the grass have always held a fascination for young children who happen to encounter them. The grasshoppers jump or fly short distances to escape potential predators such as kids of the human sort. When that happens, the chase is often on.
Kids sometimes actually catch grasshoppers for an up-close look. And that is where the real action begins. First, the grasshopper kicks with those powerful jumping legs, using the spines of the back legs to gouge skin. If that doesn’t let the grasshopper escape, it resorts to another trick: defensive regurgitation.
Defensive regurgitation has long been recognized as something that many grasshoppers and katydids practice. A few species of birds are also known to engage in a behavior that most people consider a disgusting activity. For instance, the subarctic seabird called the northern fulmar vomits a bright orange substance called stomach oil. Here in North America, nestlings of turkey vultures will projectile vomit when you approach their nest. Considering that the parents of these young turkey vultures feed their kids on regurgitated food from their craw – with that food being flesh from carrion they have consumed – you can imagine that it is not the best smelling-stuff in the world. I know based on practical experience, because I accidentally encountered a turkey vulture nest in an abandoned barn some years ago!
Growing up, I called the fluid produced in the mouths of grasshoppers “tobacco juice.” Exactly why the material came to sometimes be called tobacco juice is not known. However, it does resemble, in color and consistency, the spit produced by people who chew tobacco. Some say the term might have originated because of the fact that grasshoppers sometimes feed on tobacco plants.
Entomologists have long assumed that the tobacco juice of grasshoppers was a type of defensive regurgitate. That conclusion is supported by the observation that the fluid is expelled when the insect is in some physical danger. However, there has not been a lot of research done on the subject. A recent study showed that apparently, the regurgitate might ward off smaller predators such as ants, but larger predators were not affected.
The grasshopper tobacco juice is a combination of partially-digested plant material and digestive enzymes. This much I know: if you catch a grasshopper or katydid and hold it, the insect will produce the fluid out of its mouth. If you get the fluid on you, it will stain your skin and be difficult to wash off. And oh, by the way, the grasshopper spit does taste bad. If you don’t believe me, the next time you get some grasshopper tobacco juice on your hand, taste it. Friends, that is what scientists call research!
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Grasshoppers, crickets, katyd >
- Author(s) David Britton
- Updated 11/11/18
- Read time 2 minutes
> Order Orthoptera
Grasshoppers, locusts, crickets and katydids belong to a group of insects known as orthopterans (meaning ‘straight wings’).
Most people have encountered grasshoppers at some time and seen them hop away or leap into a short low flight. Similarly, most of us have heard the sound of crickets at night as the males call out for mates. Grasshoppers and crickets are related and together with the katydids and locusts, make up the Order Orthoptera (meaning ‘straight wings’).
One of the most recognisable features of this group is their ability to produce sounds by rubbing together certain parts of their body. This is known as stridulation. Usually only the males sing to attract females but, in a few species, the female also produces sound.
Grasshoppers and locusts have a row of pegs like a comb on their back legs. They scrape these pegs against the hard edges of the front wings to make sounds. Crickets and katydids produce sounds by rubbing their wings together. In order to hear these sounds, orthopterans have a tympanum (ear) on each front leg, just below the knee.
There are about 3,000 species of orthopterans in Australia and they have the following features:
- powerful hind legs for jumping
- metamorphosis from wingless nymph to winged adult
- ability to produce sounds
- antennae that may be long and thin, or short depending on the species
- chewing mouthparts (most species are vegetarian but a few crickets feed on other insects).
Members of the Orthoptera are usually large bodied insects with the enlarged rear legs adapted for jumping. The rear legs often face backward alongside the body in preparation for a leaping escape from a predator, though some groups have lost the capacity for jumping. Many Orthoptera produce sounds, usually made by males to attract females, by rubbing their forewings together. These sounds can also be made by rubbing their legs against the body or the wings, or by grinding their mandibles (jaws).
The suborder Ensifera, which contains the true crickets, mole crickets, king crickets and katydids, can usually be recognised by the long antennae that may be several times the length of the body. Locusts and short-horned grasshoppers belong in the other suborder, Caelifera, and have shorter and more robust antennae.
Habitat and Biology
Members of the Order Orthoptera display a wide range of food preferences, habitat types, reproductive strategies and behaviours.
Many crickets live in burrows during the day. Raspy crickets (Family Gryllacrididae) construct shelters with material bound together by silk or maintain silk-lined burrows. These crickets often leave their shelters at night to forage. During the day they seal the entrance shut with silk to avoid desiccation (drying out). True crickets (Family Gryllidae) may live in burrows, crevices in the soil, in logs or under leaf litter.
Katydids and tree crickets all belong to the family Tettigoniidae. The family is very large, containing approximately 1000 described species in Australia, with many more undescribed. Its members display a variety of habitat and dietary preferences. Katydids feed on pollen and nectar, vegetation, insects and invertebrates. The family is found throughout Australia.
Locusts and grasshoppers (Suborder Caelifera, Family Acrididae) are very common insects. However, locusts behave differently depending on their numbers. When numbers are low they act as individuals, in the same way as grasshoppers. But when large numbers are present they behave as a group or swarm, causing plagues.
Locusts such as the Australian Plague Locust (Chortoicetes terminifera), the Spur-throated Locust (Austracris guttulosa) and the Migratory Locust (Locusta migratoria migratoriodes) can form plagues that cause massive damage to agricultural crops. Locust plagues usually occur when the right rainfall conditions enable several generations to reproduce in large numbers. The Australian Plague Locust Commission conducts regular surveys and research to combat the outbreak of plagues.
Both locusts and grasshoppers feed on mainly grasses, but many other plants are also eaten. Both are eaten by a wide variety of animals and parasitised by mites, worms and other insects such as the wasps of the genus Scelio, which parasitise the eggs. In some parts of the world locusts are eaten by people.
Mole Crickets (Family Gryllotalpidae) are common in well-watered urban parks and gardens. Using their large forelegs, male mole crickets dig specially constructed burrows which act as amplifying ‘horns’. These flightless males can be heard at dusk during the warmer months making a very loud, continuous call using their modified wings. The calls help the flying females locate the males for mating. Mole crickets are the only crickets where the females can also call (but not as loudly as the males).
Sand Gropers (Family Cylindrachetidae) are large burrowing orthopterans, mostly found in Western Australia. One species is an occasional pest of wheat crops. Both sexes are wingless and rarely emerge above ground.
The Dingo or Cooloola Monsters (Family Cooloolidae) are an endemic Australian family found in the sandy coastal parts of Queensland (the first specimens were found around Cooloola). They are burrowing insects that cannot fly. They have been called ‘monsters’ because of their large robust bodies and strongly clawed forelegs. Only three species have been described so far, as they are rarely found.
For enquiries relating to these insects in the Australian Museum collection please contact the Collection Manager
What do Grasshoppers Eat?
What do Grasshoppers Eat?
Grasshoppers are a type of insect with long hind legs that can leap high into the air and fly. When you look at one of these strange bugs, you might find yourself asking, “What do grasshoppers eat?” It may not be readily apparent, as grasshoppers have a set of fierce-looking mandibles, or teeth, on the exterior of their faces, but grasshoppers are actually strict herbivores. Even though they aren’t dangerous to humans, the diets of grasshoppers are still very important for people to understand. When there are too many grasshoppers in one area, they transform into locusts and can swarm across entire continents, gobbling up every farmer’s crop in their path and causing millions of dollars in damage.
What do Baby Grasshoppers Eat?
Grasshoppers hatch out of eggs, like all insects, and go through several different stages before becoming adults. Baby grasshoppers are called nymphs and begin life looking like very small, bright green grasshoppers. You can tell a baby grasshopper from an adult from its size, its lack of wings and because its body will be much more compact than an adult’s. When they have just hatched, nymphs can’t move very far and have to eat whatever plants are around them. They prefer small, tender plants that they can digest easily, like clover, grass or fresh shoots.
As grasshopper nymphs grow older, they undergo a process called molting, where they shed their old skin and emerge bigger and stronger. Their mandibles grow too, and as the grasshopper ages it is able to start eating tougher plants. A young grasshopper soon moves on to grasses and other foods preferred by adults of their species.
What do Adult Grasshoppers Eat?
Once a grasshopper nymph molts for the final time, it becomes an adult and is able to fly, reproduce and chew through nearly anything. Grasshoppers’ favorite foods are plants in the grass family such as corn, wheat, barley and alfalfa. They aren’t picky, however, and can eat many other types of plants. It’s not uncommon to see grasshoppers chewing on the leaves of a tree, and more eating the grass beneath it. They are able to digest even the driest plants thanks to special chemicals in their stomach and saliva, which can break down the carbohydrates they use for energy.
Grasshoppers are one of the few animals able to change their appearance in response to environmental pressures like overpopulation. Normally, grasshoppers are solitary creatures and try to avoid each other. When they feel other grasshoppers rubbing up against their legs, it triggers a special chemical that makes them grow larger, eat more, lay eggs faster and migrate in groups. The hungry locusts can form swarms made up of trillions of bugs, traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles and eating any plant they come across. They have been known to destroy whole fields of crops in Africa, leading to widespread famine throughout history. In fact, the eating habits of grasshoppers were so important to ancient societies that plagues of locusts are mentioned several times in both the Bible and the Quran.
What Can I Feed My Pet Grasshopper?
Most grasshoppers never become locusts, though, and can even become fun and easy pet. If you have found a grasshopper, keep it in a jar with some air holes punched into the lid. Give your pet a few twigs to stand on and jump between, and you will also need to provide it with some tasty food to eat. What do grasshoppers eat in captivity? The good news is that the answer is basically anything. Lettuce or other leftover vegetables make for a delicious treat, but you should also include blades of grass and leaves from shrubs and trees. With the right care, you can watch your grasshopper grow into a full-sized adult and live a happy life, free from predators and with a constant supply of its favorite plants to eat.