Random Insect: Short-horned grasshopper

Short-horned grasshopper (family Acrididae), photographed 09/19/2010 near Palmyra Michigan.

The insect order Orthoptera contains the grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids.  This order is broken down into two suborders, the Ensifera and Caelifera.

This suborder Ensifera includes crickets and katydids.  They could be considered the “long-horned grasshoppers” since their long antennae are their most obvious diagnostic feature.  I posted specifically about katydids (family Tettigoniidae) twice recently.  Once was a video of a katydid stridulating, and the other was a series of pictures of a katydid being eaten by a jumping spider.

The suborder Caelifera includes the “short-horned grasshoppers.”  Members of this suborder have short antennae, one of the most obvious diagnostic features.  The specimen above falls into this suborder, specifically a member of the family Acrididae.

This family is perhaps best-known for the infamous locusts that have plagued human agriculture throughout history.  Locusts are the swarming, migratory phase of these grasshoppers.  The physical change into locusts is triggered by high population density, signaling to the insects the need to disperse.  As locusts these grasshoppers are capable of eating, breeding, and traveling much more than normal.


About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Entomology, Random Insect and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Random Insect: Short-horned grasshopper

  1. Pingback: Random Insect: Differential grasshopper | The Life of Your Time

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