Physical Characteristics of Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers are one to eight inches long when fully grown. Some species undergo seasonal color changes, being green at some times and red, olive, or brown at others. Like other insects, the grasshopper body is divided into three parts: head; thorax, or mid-section; and abdomen, or hind-section. A grasshopper's antennae, which have tactile functions, are found on its head.

Each grasshopper has a pair of compound eyes with many lenses, located on the front of its head. Grasshoppers also have three pairs of legs, extending from the thorax. The last pair is much larger and longer than the others and enables jumping. Grasshoppers eat leaves, roots, and stems of grasses, herbs, and shrubs, chewing with strong mandibles (jaws), moving these jaws from side to side to break apart their food.

Most grasshoppers have two pairs of wings along the back of the abdomen. Two hard fore-wings serve as protection and two membranous hindwings are used to fly. When a grasshopper is not flying, its hindwings fold up and are covered and protected by its forewings. All long-horned the process. Mature insects mate, and about a week later, females lay the eggs for the next generation. They die a few weeks after this.

Locusts, such as the Rocky Mountain locust (Melanoplus spretus), lay their eggs in holes in the ground in the fall. The eggs hatch in the spring, and young reach maturity in July or August. Those of long-horned grasshoppers, such as meadow grasshoppers (Orchelimum vulgare) are laid in low bushes or crevices in tree bark.

Not only do locusts eat human crops, but in turn, humans have eaten them for centuries. For example, Talmudic law exempts locusts and other grasshoppers grasshoppers "sing" by rubbing the bases of their forewings together. Some male locusts make calls to females by rubbing their hind legs against their wings, and others do so by rubbing their hind legs or forewings against other parts of their bodies.

The hearing organs of long-horned grasshoppers are small growths just beneath the knee joints of their front legs. In short-horned grasshoppers, these ears are clear, circular areas on the abdomen at points just behind the junction of hind legs and body. In females, growths shaped like sickles are located at the rear of the abdomen. These ovipositors drill holes in grass, twigs, or the ground, where eggs are deposited. Ovipositors of short-horned grasshoppers are specially designed to deposit pouches of eggs in the ground.

Grasshopper Life Cycles

In the spring, grasshoppers hatch from eggs as pale, wingless nymphs (larvae). Then, within ninety days, they develop into full-grown locusts, molting four to five times in

Grasshoppers' long, slender hind legs and strong thighs allow them to make amazing leaps many times the length of their bodies. (Digital Stock)

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Responses

  • Abel Idris
    What are five characteristics of grasshoppers?
    6 years ago
  • omar
    What are the physical features in the head, thorax and abdomen of a grasshopper?
    6 years ago

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