Fascinating Grasshopper Facts

Grasshoppers and Locust belong to the order Orthoptera, which also includes crickets and katydids.

Locusts are actually species of short-horned grasshoppers. Grasshoppers existed long before dinosaurs. Fossils date back to the Carboniferous period, which shows that the primitive grasshoppers first appeared more than 320 million years ago.

Grasshoppers sometimes “spit” brown liquid to defend themselves from predators. Some people say grasshopper’s spit “tobacco juice,” probably because grasshoppers have been associated with tobacco crops in the past.

Grasshoppers cause billions of dollars in damage to food crops annually, worldwide. A desert locust swarm in Kenya in 1954 consumed over 200 square kilometers of wild and cultivated plants.

Grasshoppers provide an important source of protein to people in many parts of the world. In Mexico there is a meal of sauteed grasshoppers called chapulines.

Grasshoppers are classed as medium to large insects and are recognised by their large eyes and brown or green colouring. The length of an adult grasshopper varies between 1cm and 7cm.

Grasshoppers can be found on every continent except Antarctica. The grasshopper likes warm, dry environments as meadows and fields, and is also found in people’s gardens!

Grasshopper eggs are eaten by beetles. Young and adult grasshoppers are preyed upon by birds, dragonflies, raccoons, spiders, and even small mammals.

Grasshoppers have a complex life cycle, with a remarkable ability to undergo metamorphosis The complete lifecycle of a grasshopper is relatively short, around one year.

Adult grasshoppers usually live for about seven weeks, depending on the weather. A female grasshopper can lay hundreds of eggs at a time.

Grasshoppers begin life as an egg which hatch into nymphs in the spring and summer. Nymphs are young, wingless Grasshoppers which are lighter in colour than adult grasshoppers.

It takes around a month, and 5 or 6 moults, before a nymph develops into an adult with wings. Grasshoppers depend on camouflage to avoid detection from predators.

Grasshoppers have natural predators, such as spiders, lizards, rodents, and insect-eating birds. The hooded Leaf Grasshopper’s camouflage is to look like certain leaves and Stick Grasshoppers mimic wooden sticks.

A Grasshopper’s body is divided into a head, thorax, and abdomen as it is an insect. Grasshoppers don’t have nests as they travel to find new sources of food.

Grasshoppers have two pairs of compound eyes, which allow them to see multiple images at once and 3 pairs of simple eyes. The three simple eyes are called ocelli, which detect light intensity.

Touch and smell are very important to Grasshoppers and so they have a pair of thread-like antennae that are sensitive to these senses. They have two pairs of wings, one pair is narrow and tough, the other wide and flexible.

Some male grasshoppers perform elaborate displays to attract females, including wing flapping, leg waving, and chirping sounds. Although most species of grasshopper are solitary they sometimes gather into huge groups of millions or even billions.

Most grasshopper species are herbivores that feed on plants, but some are omnivorous or even predatory. Grasshoppers have a massive appetite! On average, a grasshopper can eat about 16 times its own weight in a single day.

Their favourite foods are plants in the grass family such as wheat, corn, barley and lucerne. Grasshoppers mate in late summer or fall. There are over 11,000 known species of grasshoppers.

A small cuticle in a grasshopper’s knee acts as a spring that lets it catapult its body into the air. Grasshoppers can reach a speed of 13 km/hour when flying.

Adult grasshoppers are capable of leaping 10 times their length straight into the air (50 cm). Grasshoppers can jump 20 times their length along the ground without using its wings. That means if a grasshopper is 5cm long, it can jump a distance of 1 meter.

The peak acceleration of a grasshopper’s leap into the air is close to 20 G. A fighter jet pilot can experience G forces up to 9 G!

The largest recorded locust swarm was in 1875 and was about 2,900 km long and 180 km wide. An estimated number was 3.5 trillion.

Grasshoppers have ears on their abdomen, which allow them to detect the sounds of predators and other grasshoppers. In dreams, grasshoppers are seen as symbols of liberty, or the failure to settle down or commit to decision.

In Japan, grasshoppers are a sign of good luck and In Greek mythology immortality. In the USA, grasshoppers cause damage of around $1.5 billion to crops each year. Grasshoppers migrate during the winter to find food and warmer climates.

Some grasshoppers can fly short distances, while others can travel long distances by gliding or flying. 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.

The larger pair of wings are used for flying and a smaller pair used for steering. Their wings are covered with tiny hairs that help them stay airborne. The Grasshoppers wings are covered with tiny hairs that help them stay airborne.

The antennae’s are used to sense their environment and communicate with other grasshoppers. Grasshoppers play a crucial role in nutrient cycling by breaking down plant matter and returning it to the soil. Grasshoppers have appeared in popular culture, from children’s books and cartoons to movies and video games.

They have also inspired technological innovations, such as robots that mimic their movements or sensors that detect their sounds.

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