Grasshoppers are insects that are famous for their long jumps and making a chirping sound. They have adapted themselves very well for their survival. They have excellent camouflage, that can blend them almost completely in the surroundings of their habitats. There are about 11,000 different species of grasshoppers that are living around the world.
Life Cycle of Grasshoppers – 3 Stage Process
The life cycle is a process in which living things are born and complete their life up to giving birth to the new generation and restarting the cycle. Grasshoppers are insects and they undergo a life cycle similar to most insects. The grasshoppers follow the lifecycle process known as metamorphosis.
Metamorphosis is a 4 stage process; egg, larva, pupa, and adult stage. Unlike most insects, grasshoppers undergo 3 stage metamorphosis also known as “Incomplete Metamorphosis”. The 3 stages are egg, nymph, and adult stage. Let’s discuss these stages in more detail.
Egg – 1st Stage
Like all the insects, the life cycle of grasshoppers starts when a female lay eggs. The female grasshoppers normally lay eggs in the summer season which is also known as their mating season. For laying eggs, females find a suitable place mostly under sand, leaves, or barks of trees.
Females lay around 10 – 30 eggs and sprinkle a sticky solution on them which hardens and is called a pod. The eggs in a pod are protected from weathering. Most of the females lay around 25 pods in their mating season.
Many species of grasshoppers normally take 4 to 6 weeks to hatch. After then, they enter into the 2nd stage of their life known as the nymph.
Nymph – 2nd Stage
After surviving through the egg stage, grasshoppers start their life journey towards becoming adults. Initially, grasshoppers don’t have reproductive organs and wings. For survival in this weak stage, they start eating soft parts of plants.
In the nymph stage, the grasshoppers go into the process of moulting and shed their skin 5 to 6 times. They develop their wings and body progressively during each moult. It takes around 2 to 6 weeks depending on the species to progress through the nymph to the adult stage.
Adult – 3rd Stage
When grasshoppers enter into the adult stage, they start developing their fully grown wings in under a month. The birth cycle of grasshoppers is yearly which means they lay eggs once a year. It has been found that only half of the nymphs reach adulthood. The remaining half is mostly eaten by predators including lizards, birds, and other insects.
Appearance – What do they look like?
Grasshoppers have a long body with six legs. Their back legs are large which helps them to jump very high. Their body is divided into 3 parts; head, thorax, and abdomen. They have a strong exoskeleton which protects their soft body. They have a pair of large wings at their back and a pair of smaller wings at the front. Grasshoppers have a wide range of colors that change from species to species.
Grasshoppers can eat both plants and small insects. It depends on their location what they will eat. Grasshoppers are very good hunters, their camouflage helps them a lot to succeed in the hunt. Many species of grasshoppers love to eat human-produced crops, e.g. wheat. They cause serious damage to the crops and sometimes eating all the crops.
Grasshoppers population is stable. They are not endangered.
- In many countries, people eat some species of grasshoppers.
- They can jump 20 times as high as their body length.
- Locusts are the species of grasshopper that cause 1.5 billion dollars of damage in the US alone by destroying crops.
- Some species of grasshopper make singing noise by rubbing their back leg with one of the hard front wings.