There are 18,000 different species of grasshoppers in the world. Various species of grasshoppers have different colours, different abilities in moving and different sizes. Grasshoppers range in size from 1 to 7cm long. Most grasshoppers, no matter what their species, have similarities such as long legs, long bodies, large eyes and short antennae.
Colours In Grasshoppers
While different species of grasshoppers have different coloured bodies, most have bodies that blend into their environment. This natural defence mechanism helps them hide from predators. Sometimes the male grasshopper has bright colours on its wings, which makes it more attractive to female grasshoppers. Some grasshoppers are brightly coloured all over their bodies, and do not blend into their natural environment. Their diet includes toxic plants, so even if predators see them, the grasshopper will not be eaten because the predator knows these grasshoppers are poisonous.
Grasshopper Life Cycle
Grasshoppers are found in every continent except Antarctica and are hatched from eggs which the mother lays. Baby grasshoppers go through five to six periods of metamorphosis, which means they shed their skin as they grow new body parts. During each stage they look similar to an adult grasshopper. Most grasshoppers can not survive freezing temperatures, so when winter comes, the adult grasshoppers die. In places where there are no freezing temperatures, grasshoppers can live for several years.
Grasshopper Body Parts
Almost all grasshoppers are alike in that they have powerful jaws, which they use for chewing food. Their jaws are called "mandibles." Grasshoppers have two pairs of wings. The outer wing is hard and thin, and the inner wing is wide and can sometimes be used for flight. Some grasshoppers fly very well, but others can not fly at all. They all have six pairs of legs for walking and climbing. Grasshoppers have powerful back legs used for jumping, and they have five eyes including two large eyes which have many lenses. This lets them see in many directions at once. They also have a small eye at the base of each antennae, and one small eye between the antennae.
A grasshopper can jump up to 20 times the length of its body. For a person, this would be like jumping the length of a football field in three hops. The grasshopper moves at a speed of 10 feet per second while jumping, and it's back legs are 10 times more powerful than the human muscles when they are working their hardest. According to Dr. Graham Hoyle in an article in Time magazine, the only animal in the world with a muscle action more powerful than a grasshopper's hop is the closing action of a clam. Even then, he says, the grashopper's hop is much quicker.