Fun Facts about Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers have a springy mechanism in their knees. It is between the second and third joints for jumping. Grasshoppers exert force on their back legs so they can be strong and can often break one of their legs while jumping. Grasshoppers are herbivorous.

Grasshoppers have white blood. They get oxygen from holes in their body called spiracles. They belong to two main families the short horned including locust and the long horned including Katydids and crickets. They have a three part body-head, thorax and abdomen. They have six jointed legs, two pairs of wings and two antennae. Grasshoppers have five eyes and are covered in an exoskeleton. There are 18,000 types of grasshoppers in the world. Grasshoppers have no ears and they hear with an organ called an tympanum. They go through three stages of metamorphosis. Females lay several dozen eggs and cover them in a paste like fluid to protect them through winter.

The eggs start to hatch in the warmer weather and they turn into nymphs which take 40-60 days to develop into adults. Males make noise by rubbing their back legs together called stridulation. Some grasshoppers can leap over 3m. They eat plants and predators that include birds, beetles, rodents, reptiles and spiders. Grasshopper’s legs can walk on their own even when detached from the insect’s body! Grasshoppers are considered to be locusts and they are also edible! They are eaten as food in many parts of the world. They can be ground, dried, roasted, boiled and dipped in honey. They can be jellied and chocolate covered which is quite a delicacy. In 1874 a Church in Kansas was built during a grasshopper plague so thousands of grasshoppers got mixed into the mortar of the buildings foundation!

In 1848 in Salt Lake City there is a monument to sea gulls that devoured a plague of grasshoppers that had threatened Mormon settler’s crops. Grasshoppers are the largest amount of biomass of plant feeders on Konza Prairie except for bison. Grasshoppers have a large impact on the prairie ecosystem. The frightened lubber grasshopper oozes a horrible smelling froth from its mouth. Did you know that a pound of grasshoppers is more nutritious then a pound of beef! The world’s largest grasshoppers are 10 inches long. Flies will lay their eggs near or in a grasshopper eggs and eat them when they hatch.

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