Locusts, Grasshoppers and Crickets
The Grasshopper is a medium to large sized insect and the grasshopper is found (close to grass) all over the world. Grasshoppers are best known for their ability to jump incredible heights and distances., Most grasshopper individuals grow to about 2 inches long although larger grasshoppers are found on a fairly regular basis that grow to more than 5 inches in length. The grasshopper has wings meaning it can migrate over long distances when the weather gets too cold. There are 11,000 thousand known species of grasshopper on Earth, that live in grassy areas such as fields and meadows and forest and woodland. Like all insects, all species of grasshopper have a three-part body that is made up of the grasshopper’s head, it’s thorax and the abdomen. Grasshoppers also have six legs, two pairs of wings, and two antennae. The antennae of the grasshopper are known to be remarkably long and can often be longer than the grasshopper’s body, although the grasshopper’s antennae and the grasshopper’s body are normally about the same size. Grasshoppers use their long antennae in order to make sense of their surroundings. Grasshoppers have six jointed legs that are incredibly powerful for such a small creature, as grasshoppers are able to jump extraordinary distances. The two back legs of the grasshopper are long and powerful and are just for jumping, where the four front legs of the grasshopper are primarily used to hold onto prey and to help it to walk. Despite their large size, grasshoppers are herbivores animals and have a diet that consists solely of plant matter. Grasshoppers eat grasses, weeds, leaves, shrubs, bark and numerous other species of plants that surround them. The grasshopper is also a stable food source for many predators around the world including reptiles, insects, small mammals and birds. It is common for humans to eat grasshoppers in places like Asia and Africa where the bigger species of grasshopper are found, and there is a less readily available alternative protein source. The female grasshopper lays an egg pod that contains a couple of dozen grasshopper eggs in the late autumn to early winter depending on the area. The female grasshopper inserts her egg pod into the soil so that it is a couple of inches underground. The grasshopper eggs can take up to 9 months to hatch as they wait until the weather has warmed before breaking into the outside world. When the first baby grasshopper (known as a nymph) hatches out of it’s egg, it tunnels through the soil and up to the surface, and the remaining grasshopper nymph follow. As they get older, the grasshoppers will increase in size until they are adults. The grasshopper only remains in this stage (young and adult) for a few months before it dies meaning that most grasshopper individuals spend the majority of their lives inside an egg.
Locusts, Grasshoppers and Crickets are insects that belong to the order Orthoptera. There are over 900 species of crickets that are divided in couple of groups, based on their morphology and type of habitat. Crickets can be found throughout the world. They can survive in various habitats, including forests, meadows, fields, rocky areas and caves. Some of them live under the ground. Crickets are best known by the song they produce. They are symbol of good luck. People of China were holding crickets as pets in the past. Most species of crickets are numerous in the wild. Some species of crickets are facing uncertain future due to habitat loss (crickets cannot fly and they often disappear along with their habitats). Because of that, several species of crickets are listed as endangered. Interesting Cricket Facts: Size of crickets depends on the species. They are usually 1 to 2 inches long. Crickets can be black, red, brown or green in colour. Most species of crickets have flattened body and two pairs of membranous wings. Crickets have one pair of one inch long antennas, called feelers. Antennas can detect movement of the prey and facilitate finding of food. Crickets have excellent eyesight. Their eyes (known as compound eyes) consist of large number of lenses which ensure visualisation of different pictures at the same time. Only male crickets produce song. They have comb-like structures (toothed areas) on their wings which produce chirping sound when male rubs its wings. Chirps are mostly used to attract females and during the mating ritual. Other than that, males can produce specific type of chirps as a sign of aggression toward other males. Intensity of chirps depends on the temperature. Outer temperature (in Fahrenheit degrees) can be determined by adding 37 to the number of chirps produced in 15 seconds. Higher temperature is associated with more frequent chirps. Most species of crickets live on the ground, but some of them live under the ground, inside the caves, or high on the trees. Even though crickets have wings, they do not fly. Crickets can jump or travel short distances by producing jerky moves. Crickets are active during the night (nocturnal creatures). Crickets are omnivores (eat plants and other animals). Their diet includes various types of insects, fungi and plant materials. Frogs, lizards, turtles and large spiders are main predators of crickets. These cute insects are also to be consumed as delicacy in Ireland. Crickets lay eggs in autumn. Eggs remain incubated during the cold winter period and hatch at the beginning of spring. Crickets have incomplete metamorphosis which consists of three developmental stages: egg, nymph and adult insect. Crickets molt as they grow. Young insects look like miniature version of adults. Crickets do not have long lifespan. They can survive up to one year in the wild.