Grasshopper Habitat – Grasshoppers are very common to found as their habitat depends from the hot deserts to moist rain forest. Grasshoppers are insects that can be distinguished through their lengthy legs and surprisingly flashy sound they make. They are also kind of insects that have three typical body parts, which includes abdomen, thorax and head. In addition, grasshopper has also pair of wings, two antennae and six legs.
They are considered as vegetarian insects that can fly, walk and jump. Since, grasshoppers can eat many different things; these insects can also survive in different kinds of habitats. You can find grasshopper in all continents, expect Antarctica. Grasshopper is an herbivorous insect of suborder Chelicera.
Sometimes, they are being referred as short horn grasshoppers. Although, they are known as type of insects that can jump, grasshoppers don’t actually jump. They are just using their long legs as catapult. When grasshoppers fly or jump their speed capacity range up to eight miles. As a matter of fact, there are almost eighteen thousand various grasshopper species.
- Characteristics of Grasshoppers
- Different Types of Grasshoppers
- The Grasshopper Habitats and Diet
- Grasshoppers’ Behavior
- Life Cycle & Reproduction of Grasshoppers
- How to Naturally Avoid Grasshoppers in Your Garden
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Characteristics of Grasshoppers
Grasshopper insects have several different types, which vary in colors and sizes. However, although grasshoppers are not alike, they also share few characteristics, regardless of their species. Grasshoppers are very common to found in different places, especially in United States.
Since, grasshopper is generally harmless, it’s one of the most favorite insects of most children, who loved to catch and keep it in jar to observe. Grasshopper insects have moderate to huge sizes.
Typically, the length of the adult grasshopper is one to seven centimeters. It depends on their types, such as their relatives’ crickets or katydids with chewing mouthparts, long legs, 2 pair of wings, 1 that is narrow and the other pair is very flexible & wide. They are very different in their group, because of having short antenna, which don’t reach the back part of their body.
Grasshopper usually has large and colored eyes to blend in their environment. Typically, the color of their eyes is combination of green, grey or brown. But, some species, especially the male grasshoppers have bright eye colors and on their pair of wings, which they also use in order to attract the female grasshoppers.
Other types of grasshoppers eat toxic foods or plants, which they use as their protection for their bodies. Also, their bright color is what they used to warn the predators or enemies that they really taste bad. Classifying the female grasshoppers is very easy, as they are bigger if compared to the males.
Female grasshopper has also sharp point at their abdomen, which can help in laying eggs underground. But, sometimes the male grasshopper has special structure on its wings that can help to make loud noise. When it comes to their foods, grasshoppers eat plants. While some species are staying in host plants, they mostly eat stems, flowers, seeds and leaves of the plant. Other species of grasshoppers eat the things they found in the ground, like piece of leaves, seeds, flowers and dead insects. However, grasshopper can be very picky about the food. Grasshoppers always sample their foods before eating or begin feeding. Typically, most species of grasshoppers select the items that can sustain them with vitamins, sugars, and the right type of amino acid.
Different Types of Grasshoppers
Generally, grasshoppers are composed of two main sets. The first set or group of grasshopper is the long-horned grasshopper and the second one is the short-horned grasshopper.
They are divided depending on their feelers or their antennae that are also known as horns. The short-horned grasshopper is usually called as locust. The locust grasshopper insect belongs to the suborder Chelicera and order Orthopnea. There are about ten thousand different kinds of grasshoppers. Some species of grasshoppers have brightly colored bodies that are very toxic. Some types of grasshoppers can’t make noise by just rubbing their long legs. The sound is one way to call or attract their mates.
Creek grasshopper is one of the most common types of grasshopper that has capability to swim on the water. Apart from that, creek grasshoppers has green, smooth and shiny surface with stripes on the side. Also, the creek grasshopper has brown thorax and brown head.
Another type of grasshopper is the club-horned grasshopper. The club horned grasshoppers are usually found in grasslands of Northern United State and Western Canada and extend in Southern Arizona & New Mexico. The Club-horned belongs to the short-horned grasshoppers.
This type of grasshopper eat or feeds on grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, June grass, wheat grass, needle thread, and Sandberg bluegrass. The male club-horned grasshopper can fly, while the female cannot because of having short wings.
This type of grasshopper usually feeds on cudweed leaves and it fed usually feed by cattle or sheep in Mexico. The weighs of a female grasshopper is three times than males. The adult and nymph cudweed grasshoppers spend a lot of their time in feeding or eating host plants.
But, they also spend some rest on the sagebrush. Moreover, the cudweed grasshopper positions itself with its hind legs and head pointed perpendicular to rays of the sun. The nymphs’ cudweed grasshoppers turn a lot of green shades, especially when they are going through their development.
Another type of grasshopper is the white-whiskered, which is usually found in North America. The white-whiskered are known as the smallest type of grasshopper and it prefers to be feed on Kentucky bluegrass and wheat. However, the white-whiskered grasshoppers also eat western wheatgrass, sedge and needle thread. White-whiskered grasshoppers are usually medium size with reddish brown slanted face. Also, they have long wings, white antennae and red or orange color of hind legs. Most of this type of grasshopper flies near grounds and when males attract or court the female grasshoppers, the usual approach is by giving visual signals through lowering the hind antennae.
The Grasshopper Habitats and Diet
Most species of grasshoppers prefer to stay in open and dry habitat with many grasses or any other type of low plants. But, some grasshoppers live in jungles and forests. Lots of grassland grasshopper species also invade in farmers’ fields. Furthermore, most grasshopper feed on broadleaf foliage or pine, however they are not too numerous and sometimes hard to observe.
Other habitats where the grasshopper species are very rare are freshwater swamps and mangrove swamps. Though some may sometimes observe in mangroves, but not frequent. Grasshoppers can be usually found in meadows, fields or anywhere where they can get more amounts of grass and plants to eat. Perhaps, most of you think that grasshoppers are just small and they don’t eat much, you’re so wrong. Despite of their small size, grasshoppers eat a lot. As a matter of fact, the average or medium-sized grasshoppers can eat for about sixteen times.
One of the most favorite foods of the grasshoppers is the cereal crop. But, they also eat more plants, leaves and grasses. One particular type of grasshopper that belongs to the short-horned doesn’t eat grasses or cereal crops, only plants. However it can eat every type of plants in sight.
When there is adverse condition, grasshoppers also migrate or transfer in other place. When they migrate, grasshoppers can travel for almost fifteen miles per day. The grasshoppers are more attracted and interested to transfer in areas that have dense vegetation, such as scrubs and more.
One of the most difficult parts in creating habitats is to catch the grasshoppers. The species of grasshoppers are so fast and they are not easy to catch, especially those types of grasshoppers with wider wings. So, catching female or male grasshoppers is not always possible to be done.
Creating a habitat for grasshopper can be the best solution to easily catch them. How are you going to set up own home for the3 grasshopper? Simply take a wired cage or transparent container that has lid enough holes for ventilation. You can set it up with damp soil and place lots of plants or leaves around.
In addition, if you are creating a habitat for grasshopper, it is very important to place it near the light so that, it will be slightly warm. Get the grasshopper and place it inside and close the container. You need to make sure that the container is clean, so removing the waste or uneaten foods is important as well.
The species of grasshoppers are more active during daytime. But feed or eat at night too. They don’t have territories and nests, so most species of grasshoppers go through long migration just to look for new supply of foods. Some species just come along to mate and solitary, however the species that migrate are sometimes gathered together in big groups, million or billions of entities. When grasshopper is picked- up, it spit brown liquid. When a grasshopper spit that brown liquid or also called as the tobacco juice, it helps a lot for flying ability. Some scientist believed that when grasshoppers spit that brown liquid, their antennae up and quicker to fly.
Also, grasshoppers escape from their enemy by hiding among leaves and grasses. So, if you are trying to catch a grasshopper in open field, it will be easier for you to determine, where they hide and how fast they disappear through dropping into tall grasses. Different types of lies are the number one predator of most species of grasshoppers. It is because the flies lay eggs near the eggs of the grasshoppers.
When the eggs of the flies hatch, newborn flies always eat the eggs of the grasshoppers. Some kinds of flies even lay eggs on grasshoppers’ body or even while they are flying. Then, newborn flies eat the eggs of grasshoppers. Birds, snakes, spiders, mice and beetles are other great enemies of the grasshoppers.
Life Cycle & Reproduction of Grasshoppers
All species of grasshoppers start their life as eggs. The eggs of the grasshoppers represent their life cycle. The grasshoppers lay their eggs on the ground or soil of their habitats and completely develop from the sight of humans. Life cycles’ of bigheaded grasshoppers deposit in interval batch of eggs during summer.
During the development and growth of the insect, they molt in their intervals, change their form and structures as well. And that stage of process is known as metamorphosis. Most insects undergo simple or gradual metamorphosis like the species of grasshoppers.
This kind of process, the insects that hatch look like adults expect for their smaller sizes, fewer antennae segments, rudimentary genitalia and no wings. Other grasshoppers with simple metamorphosis are the aphids, cockroaches, crickets, bugs and leafhoppers. Most species of grasshoppers are very musical as they sing songs, especially when they want to attract other mates. Making a noise or loud sounds is their way of singing, wherein they rub their legs at their back with for-wings. That is also called as stridulating.
The female grasshoppers are not too common to make noise. Sometimes, they do, but softer compared to the sounds that create by the male grasshoppers. That is also one way of determining their genders. When you observe that a grasshopper creates too loud noise, it is male.
But, the one that make softer sound is a female. But, making loud noise is not the only way to attract their mates. Any species of grasshoppers can attract their mates by using their own scent. Some grasshoppers that can’t sing are using their scent to attract the female grasshoppers.
How to Naturally Avoid Grasshoppers in Your Garden
Perhaps, some of you love to catch and take care of grasshoppers. But, some don’t like the occurrence of these kinds of species. Well, if you are one of those individuals who are not fun of seeing the appearance of grasshoppers especially in your gardens, there is one best solution for that. Using garlic spray is one of the most effective ways on how to get rid of grasshoppers. As they don’t like the taste & smell of garlic, grasshoppers easily go away when they smell such odor.
Here is a quick summary of ways to get rid of grasshoppers in the garden.
- Spread a few applications of grasshopper bait to eradicate young grasshoppers.
- Make your own garlic spray by mixing crushed garlic with water and essential oil.
- Plant natural grasshopper repellants like cilantro and pot marigold.
- Dust the leaves of affected vegetable crops with ordinary flour.
- Introduce beneficial insects like spiders and praying mantis.
- Set up a long grass area in a secluded area of the backyard