How to distinguish a grasshopper from a cricket features of insects

Grasshopper vs. Cricket

Grasshopper and cricket are types of insects that belong to the order Orthoptera. There are around 11.000 species of grasshopper and more than 900 different crickets. Grasshoppers usually inhabit warm, tropical areas (only few species can be found in temperate regions). Crickets can be found all over the world, except in very cold areas. They are especially numerous in tropics. Grasshoppers and crickets usually inhabit grasslands, meadows, forests, marshes and caves. They have sturdy, cylindrical body, large head, two pairs of wings and very long hind legs designed for jumping. Some grasshoppers and crickets cannot fly (they are wingless). Even though it seems that grasshoppers and crickets are very similar in terms of morphology and life style, these two groups of insects are actually distantly related. Here’s the list of major differences between grasshoppers and crickets:

Grasshoppers are larger than crickets. They can reach 4 inches in length, while the largest crickets do not exceed length of 2 inches. Grasshoppers are usually bright green colored to ensure perfect blending with the colors of their environment. Crickets are usually pale green or brown color because of their nocturnal nature (dark-colored body cannot be easily detectable during the night).

Crickets have pair of very long antennas on top of the head, while grasshoppers have pair of short antennas.

Most crickets are wingless and they move only by jumping. Most grasshoppers are equipped with wings and they are able both to jump and fly.

Crickets and grasshoppers can produce chirping noise by using different parts of their body (phenomenon called stridulation). Crickets produce sound by rubbing their wings together, while grasshoppers “sing” by rubbing their long hind legs against wings.

Sense of Hearing

Crickets detect sound by using sensory organs located on the front legs, while grasshoppers use sensory organs located at the base of the abdomen.

Grasshoppers are active during the day (diurnal animals), while crickets are active at dusk and dawn (crepuscular animals).

Grasshoppers are herbivores. Their diet is based on various types of grass. Crickets are omnivores. They consume various types of plants, insect eggs, larvae, scale insects and aphids.

Association with Humans

Under very good environmental conditions, grasshoppers can reproduce at very high rate and produce extremely large population which can inflict serious damage to the agricultural fields (many species of grasshoppers are classified as pests). Certain types of grasshoppers are consumed as delicacy in North America and Asia. Crickets are kept as pets in some countries and used as food in Southeast Asia. Crickets are portrayed in the popular cartoons Pinocchio and Mulan, and they are frequently mentioned in poems, novels and children books.

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Crickets vs Grasshoppers

Most people get confused with the differences between grasshoppers and crickets. Though the two insects look similar, they have many differences.

Grasshoppers and crickets belong to the same Orthoptera order, and they belong to different suborders. While grasshoppers belong to the suborder Caeliferans, and the cricket belongs to the suborder Ensifera.

While a grasshopper is a diurnal insect, crickets are nocturnal insects. This means that grasshoppers go out in the daylight and crickets go out during the nighttime.

In terms of size, a grasshopper is larger than a cricket. Concerning colours, the grasshopper comes in colours of: neutral, green, grey, or light brown. On the other hand, crickets come in bright or dark colours.

While grasshoppers can fly and jump, crickets just only jump. Only some cricket species fly.
Another distinctive difference between grasshoppers and crickets is that the latter comes with longer antennae.

Though both grasshoppers and crickets do make chirping sounds, they produce the sounds from different places. The cricket makes the chirping sound by rubbing their wings. To be more specific, the crickets rub the top of one wing along the teeth at the bottom side of the other wing. Only the male crickets produce the sound. But the grasshopper produces the chirping sounds by rubbing the hind legs with the wings. Grasshoppers then catch the sound through little ears which are situated on the base of the abdomen. In crickets, the sound-catching organ is situated on the front legs.

The grasshopper is herbivorous while crickets are predatory, herbivorous, and omnivorous.
It is said that there are about 900 cricket species and about 8,000 grasshopper species.

1. Grasshoppers belong to the suborder Caeliferans, and crickets belongs to the suborder Ensifera.
2. Grasshoppers are larger than crickets.
3. While a grasshopper is a diurnal insect, crickets are nocturnal insects.
4. Grasshoppers come in the colours of: neutral, green, grey, or light brown. On the other hand, crickets come in bright or dark colours.
5. Crickets have longer antennae than the grasshopper.
6. The cricket makes the chirping sound by rubbing their wings, but the grasshopper produces the chirping sounds by rubbing the hind legs with the wings.
7. The grasshopper is herbivorous while crickets are predatory, herbivorous, and omnivorous.
8. Grasshoppers catch sound through little ears which are situated on the base of the abdomen. In crickets, the sound-catching organ is situated on the front legs.

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Grasshoppers and Crickets (Order: Orthoptera)

Locusts (like this solitary-phase Schistocerca gregaria) are perhaps the most well-known of the grasshoppers and crickets.
Photograph by Christiaan Kooyman.

One of the commonest questions asked about grasshoppers and crickets is how to tell them apart. There are a number of ways to tell if you’re looking at a grasshopper or cricket:

  • The main difference between a grasshopper and a cricket is that crickets tend to have long antennae, grasshoppers have short antennae.
  • Crickets str >

Grasshoppers have short antennae in comparison to crickets.

Crickets, like this bush-cricket, have long antennae.

Distinguishing features

Once you’ve seen a cricket or grasshopper, you’ll always be able to recognise them – they have sturdy looking bodies and large heads, and the pronotum (the region just behind the head) is large and saddle-shaped.

In both crickets and grasshoppers, the hind legs are large in proportion to their bodies, and this enables them to jump really long distances. If you see a grasshopper in the grass, just try to touch it and you will see how well it can jump. Some entomologists have suggested that the name Orthoptera should be changed to Saltatoria, from the Greek ‘saltare‘, meaning ‘to leap’. Their back legs are described as saltatorial.

The front wings of the Orthoptera (the word comes from the Greek ‘ortho‘ meaning ‘straight’ or rigid, and ‘ptera‘ meaning wings) look somewhat ‘leathery’, and the hind wings are clear. This feature is also found in the cockroaches and mantids.

These insects go through incomplete metamorphosis (i.e. egg, nymphs, adult, without a pupal stage).

Distribution

Most Orthoptera live in the tropics, and there are around 18,000 species of them. Around 700 of these are found in Europe – mainly in the south – and only 30 species live in Britain. Their preference for warmer weather is also seen in the fact that only around half a dozen species are found as far north as Scotland.

Many orthopterans are flightless, and most are not good fliers, but some, such as the locusts, are famously able to fly in pursuit of food.

One noticeable feature of this order of insects is their ability to ‘sing’ by rubbing one part of their body against another. This noise is known as stridulation. The parts that are rubbed together are called the file and the scraper. The file has little ridges, so the effect is rather like rubbing a comb along a piece of card.

Grasshopper species can often be identified more easily by their chirping song than by examining them.

It is normally the males that stridulate, though females do it too but more quietly. When there are females about the males break into a courtship song that is different from their usual one.

Orthopteran families

There are seven European families of Orthoptera.

The Mole Cricket (Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa) may be extinct in the UK and has been made a priority for conservation under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP).

The Mole Crickets (Gryllotalpidae)

This is represented in Britain by the Common Mole Cricket (Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa) which despite its name is very rare here! It is a large insect (35mm or longer) with enormous front legs that are described as fossorial (adapted for digging). With a name like mole cricket, you can imagine that this is an insect that likes to burrow in the soil, especially damp soil.

The common mole cricket lays around 300 eggs underground and the nymphs when they hatch eat plant roots and insect grubs.

The True Crickets (Gryllidae)

The commonest member of this family in many parts of Europe is the House Cricket (Acheta domesticus). This is a native of Africa which has spread to Europe. The house cricket is found in kitchens and bakeries and other places where it is especially warm – including on rubbish dumps, where fermenting rubbish gives off warmth.

Because members of this family hold their wings flat over the body, rather than vertically, they appear more flattened than the other grasshoppers and crickets.

The house cricket is a good flier. Britain has two native true crickets – the Field Cricket (Gryllus campestris) and the Wood Cricket (Nemobius sylvestris). These are daytime insects, unlike many crickets, but they are rare and are only found in the south of England.

House Cricket (Acheta domesticus).

Bush-crickets (Tettigoniidae)

There are ten British species of bush-cricket, only 5 of which can fly. The Great Green Bush-cricket (Tettigonia viridissima) can fly very well. Bush-crickets tend to become active in late afternoon and continue singing late into the night.

The Oak Bush-cricket (Meconema thalassinum) is often attracted to light close to trees and is one of the commonest species. It is interesting in that it has no song – instead, the males of this species attract females by stamping their feet very loudly on a leaf!

Bush-crickets mostly eat animal matter, but they do eat vegetable matter as well, and one or two foreign species are completely herbivorous.

Cave Crickets (Rhaphidophoridae)

There are no British species of this family but they are represented in Britain by the Greenhouse Camel Cricket (Tachycines asynamorus) which is an Asian species sometimes found in heated greenhouses. This is a family of wingless, somewhat hump-backed insects with very long antennae.

Grasshoppers (Acrididae)

There are eleven grasshoppers in Britain, all but one of them able to fly. The one that can’t is called the Meadow Grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus) whose hind wings are stunted (or vestigial).

The different species of grasshopper tend to like different habitats. The Large Marsh Grasshopper (Stethophyma grossum) for example is only found on peat bogs. The Meadow Grasshopper, however, is much less fussy and likes any grassland that is not too dry; it is our most abundant grasshopper.

The field grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus) is one of the commonest species in the UK.

All the grasshoppers are herbivores, mostly feeding on grasses. They lay their eggs in groups of about a dozen just under the soil or at the base of clumps of grass. The female grasshopper covers them with a frothy substance that soon hardens into a protective covering that protects them over winter. They hatch in the spring, and the young grasshoppers may be seen leaping around in May and June.

Locusts are a type of grasshopper. They are large and are strong fliers. Sometimes their populations explode, and they travel in huge swarms looking for food, causing huge damage to the crops that man has conveniently grown for them on the way! There are a few species of locusts in the Middle East that find their way to Europe, and the Migratory Locust (Locusta migratoria) lives in northern Europe, though it doesn’t often build up into huge numbers there.

Groundhoppers (Tetrigidae)

These insects look like small grasshoppers but their pronotum extends back to cover the abdomen, and the forewings are reduced to small scales. The Common Groundhopper (Tetrix undulata) cannot fly, but most groundhoppers can fly well, because of their well developed hind wings.

There are three British species of groundhopper. They can be found where there is less grass than would suit the grasshoppers, and are often found close to ponds and streams. In fact, many of them are good swimmers! Groundhoppers mainly eat mosses and algae, and they survive the winter as young nymphs.

Pigmy Mole Crickets (Tridactylidae)

There are no British pygmy mole crickets but there are a small number of rare species in Europe. They are small insects that burrow in sandy soil.

Obtaining grasshoppers and crickets

Grasshoppers and crickets are not hard to catch, either in a net or by persuading them to jump directly into a container. They are easy to keep alive in large glass or Perspex containers such as old fish tanks or a terrarium. Some sand in the bottom will provide somewhere for them to lay eggs, grass will keep grasshoppers happy and a few aphids now and again will please crickets. The AES provides a caresheet for crickets.

Orthoptera do not keep their colours well after death, so a museum style reference collection of Orthoptera is mostly best kept only if you want to study them seriously.

Notes on the Jerusalem Cricket

The AES is often contacted about the Jerusalem Cricket. Although it is not found in the UK we have provided this information.

The “Child of the Ground” or “Child of the Earth” is actually a type of Cricket called a Jerusalem Cricket (Stenopelmatus fuscus). Adults are 30-50mm long, with a humped-back and long antennae. They are wingless and have shiny brown bodies with dark brown bands on abdomen. They eat other insects, plant roots, decaying vegetation, and potato tubers. They are not posionous and harmless although they may bite if handled roughly.

Jerusalem Cricket live on hill-sides, valley slopes and under rocks from Nebraska to New Mexico & Mexico, north along the pacific coast to Washington and east to Montana.

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How to Tell the Difference Between a Grasshopper and a Cricket

Discover the Orthoptera

Animals & Nature

Grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, and locusts all belong to the order Orthoptera. Members of this group share a common ancestor. While all of these insects look similar to the untrained eye, each has unique characteristics.

Meet the Orthopterans

Based on physical and behavioral characteristics, the Orthopterans can be split into four orders:

  • Dictyoptera (including cockroaches and mantids)
  • Grylloblattids (walking sticks)
  • Ensifera (katydids and crickets)
  • Caelifera (grasshoppers and locusts)

There are about 24,000 species of Orthoptera around the world. Most, including both grasshoppers and crickets, are plant eaters. Orthoptera range in size from about a quarter of an inch long to nearly a foot.Some, such as locusts, are pests that can literally destroy crops in minutes. In fact, locust infestations were included in the ten plagues described in the Biblical Book of Exodus. Others, such as crickets, are harmless and are considered to be signs of good luck.

There are about 1300 species of Orthoptera in the United States. There are more in the south and southwest, but there are 103 species in New England alone.

About Crickets

Crickets are most closely related to the very similar katydids. They lay their eggs in soil or leaves utilize their ovipositors to insert eggs into soil or plant material. There are crickets in every part of the world. All 2400 species of crickets are leaping insects about .12 – 2 inches long. They have four wings; the two front wings are leathery and stiff, while the two back wings are membranous and are used for flight.

Crickets are either green or white. They may live on the ground, in trees, or in bushes, where they feed largely on aphids and ants. The most distinctive aspect of crickets is their song. Male crickets rub a scraper on one front wing against a set of teeth on the other wing. They can vary the pitch of their chirps by speeding up or slowing down the movement of their scraper. Some cricket songs are intended to attract mates, while others are intended to warn away other males. Both male and female crickets have sensitive hearing.

The warmer the weather, the faster crickets chirp. In fact, the snowy tree cricket is so sensitive to sound that it is often called the “thermometer cricket.” You can figure out the exact temperature Fahrenheit by counting the number of chirps in 15 seconds and then adding 40 to that figure.

Grasshoppers are very similar in appearance to crickets, but they’re not identical. They may be green or brown, with yellow or red markings. Most grasshoppers lay eggs on the ground. Like crickets, grasshoppers can make a sound with their forewings, but the sound made by grasshoppers is more like a buzz than a trill or song. Unlike crickets, grasshoppers are awake and active during the day.

The Difference Between Crickets and Grasshoppers

The following traits separate most grasshoppers and locusts from their close cousins, the crickets and katydids. As with any rule, there may be exceptions.

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What is the Difference Between Grasshopper and Cricket

The main difference between grasshopper and cricket is that the grasshopper is a large insect with a pair of very short antennae whereas the cricket is comparatively a small insect with a pair of long antennae. Furthermore, grasshoppers have a bright green color, which helps to hide in the environment by camouflage while crickets have a pale green or brown color, which helps to protect from the predators at night.

Grasshopper and cricket are two types of insects that belong to the order Orthoptera. Grasshopper belongs to the Caelifera suborder while cricket belongs to the Ensifera suborder.

Key Areas Covered

1. Grasshopper
– Definition, Characteristics, Behavior
2. Cricket
– Definition, Characteristics, Behavior
3. What are the Similarities Between Grasshopper and Cricket
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Grasshopper and Cricket
– Comparison of Key Differences

Antennae, Body Color, Cricket, Grasshopper, Locomotion, Stridulation

Grasshopper – Definition, Characteristics, Behavior

Grasshopper is a type of herbivorous insect that belongs to the suborder Caelifera. It is sometimes called the short-horned grasshopper when the grasshopper needs to be distinguished from bush crickets or katydids. When the grasshoppers change their color and behavior at high population densities, they are called locusts. Grasshoppers can be medium to large size insects as they can grow up to 4 inches long. However, they have very short antennae. The eyes of grasshoppers are very large and colored.

Figure 1: Grasshoppers

Generally, grasshoppers are a type of diurnal insects but, sometimes they feed at night. They are solitary animals that come together for mating. In addition, in the migratory phase, grasshoppers gather in large groups of millions of insects. Both male and female grasshoppers produce sounds by rubbing their hind legs with wings. Moreover, band-winged grasshoppers create a snapping sound by popping the membranes between their veins.

Cricket – Definition, Characteristics, Behavior

Cricket is a type of omnivorous insect that belongs to the suborder Ensifera. Also known as true cricket, it belongs to the family Gryllidae. It is related to bush crickets and more distantly to grasshoppers. The main characteristic feature of cricket is the presence of a very long pair of antennae. Their body is mainly cylindrical and the head is round. At the end of the abdomen, crickets have a pair of long spikes called cerci. The ovipositor that helps to lay eggs is long and cylindrical in females. The thighs of their hind legs are large. The largest members of crickets can grow up to 2 inches.

Figure 2: Crickets

Crickets are a type of nocturnal insects. Males can produce a lout chirping sounds to attract females for mating. This is by rubbing the top of one wing on the bottom side of the second wing. There will be more singing if the weather is warmer.

Similarities Between Grasshopper and Cricket

  • Grasshopper and cricket are two insects that belong to the order Orthoptera.
  • Also, both have very large hind legs, which allow them to jump very high or very far.
  • Furthermore, both their front wing is leathery while the hindwing is clear.
  • Moreover, both can produce a characteristic, musical, chirping sound in a process called str >Grasshopper refers to a plant-eating insect with long hind legs, which are used for jumping and for producing a chirping sound, frequenting grassy places and low vegetation while cricket refers to an insect related to the grasshoppers but with shorter legs, and whose male produces a characteristic musical chirping sound. Thus, this explains the main difference between grasshopper and cricket.

Grasshopper belongs to the suborder Caelifera while cricket belongs to Ensifera.

Number of Species

There are more than 11,000 species of grasshoppers and over 900 species of crickets.

A distinguishable difference between grasshopper and cricket is their size. Grasshoppers are large and grow up to 4 inches while crickets are comparatively small and grow up to 2 inches.

Another difference between grasshopper and cricket that is easy to identify is their antennae. Grasshoppers have a pair of very short antennae while crickets have a pair of very long antennae.

Body Color

Grasshoppers have a bright green color while crickets have a pale green to brown color. Therefore, body colour is another important difference between grasshopper and cricket.

Locomotion

Furthermore, grasshoppers can jump, hop or fly while crickets can only jump.

Also, most grasshoppers are active during the day while crickets are active at night.

Diet is also a major difference between grasshopper and cricket. Grasshoppers are herbivores that feed on various types of grass while crickets are omnivores and feed on insects, aphids, larvae, insect eggs, and plants.

Besides, both male and female grasshoppers produce soft and muffled sounds by rubbing their hind legs with their wings while only male crickets produce a chirping noise by rubbing their wings together.

Moreover, the little ears of grasshoppers are at the base of the abdomen while the little ears of the crickets are on the front legs.

In addition, grasshoppers are generally considered as pests while locusts are not pests.

Conclusion

Grasshopper is a large insect with a very short pair of antennae. In contrast, cricket is a comparatively small insect with a very long pair of antennae. They differ in the body color as well. Generally, grasshoppers are bright green in color while crickets are pale green to brown in color. However, both belong to the same order. The main difference between grasshopper and cricket is the size of the body, length of the antennae, and color.

1. β€œGrasshopper – Facts, Diet & Habitat Information.” Animal Corner, Available Here
2. β€œCricket (Insect).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Oct. 2018, Available Here

Image Courtesy:

1. β€œGrasshoppers eating grass” By Kabir 108 – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. β€œCrickets feeding on carrot” By Sean Wallace – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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