|Family:||Tettigoniidae or Locustidae|
|Size:||0.5 to 5 inches (1.27 to 12.7 cm)|
|Diet:||Plants and flowers|
|Young:||2 to 100 eggs|
|Animal Predators:||Beetles, birds, rodents, frogs, snakes, cats, toads and spiders|
|IUCN Status:||Vulnerable to Extinct—see Conservation below for details|
· Some grasshoppers can leap 20 times the length of their own bodies.
· To defend itself, a grasshopper ejects a brown liquid known as “tobacco juice.”
· There are approximately 10,000 different species of grasshoppers.
· Grasshoppers are closely related to crickets.
· Some species are capable of eating up to 16 times their own weight each day.
· Many grasshoppers produce mating calls which are above the range of human hearing.
Grasshoppers come in a variety of colours—some brightly coloured—especially the ones found in the tropics, while others are dull brown or green in order to provide camouflage from enemies. Grasshoppers have a body made up of a head, a thorax and an abdomen, with six legs and up to two pairs of wings. They have relatively short antennae compared to other insects. They breathe through holes on the sides of their body. Their powerful hind legs enable them to leap great distances, while the four shorter front legs are used for walking or to hold food while they eat. Grasshoppers (usually the males) produce a song by rubbing their hind legs against other parts of their bodies.
Grasshoppers can be found worldwide (except for the coldest regions of the world), wherever vegetation grows, including tropical forests, fields, and cultivated land. Some species of grasshoppers migrate north during the summer to escape the heat.
Grasshoppers have a vegetarian diet, eating plants, flowers and, much to the distress of farmers, crops. Certain species of grasshoppers can destroy millions of dollars worth of crops in a single year.
Immediately after mating, the female lays a pod of eggs in soil late in summer. She surrounds the eggs with a spongy material that hardens and protects them. Some species of grasshoppers have an extremely short lifespan—they die in the autumn after mating. The next spring, the eggs hatch into nymphs, which resemble adults but have no wings. In later stages, wings are visible as small pads at the end of the thorax. They go through several moults over a period of two to three months before becoming fully developed adults. Before moulting, grasshoppers do not eat and become less active. During the moult, they swallow air to build up pressure to split the old cuticle.
Most grasshoppers can leap and walk, and some species can fly as well, at speeds of up to eight miles (13 km) per hour. They are social animals that can often be found in swarms.
There are 32 species of grasshoppers listed on the IUCN’s Red List as Vulnerable; seven as Endangered; another seven are Critically Endangered; and two are extinct.
Grasshopper Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US