How Do Grasshoppers Make the Environment Better?

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How Do Grasshoppers Make the Environment Better?
Grasshoppers help the environment. (Grasshopper image by Anton Menshikov from Fotolia.com)

Grasshoppers make a positive contribution to the environment. Grasshoppers reap more plant material and vegetation than they actually consume. This can be referred to as litter; the excess that is not consumed can actually promote soil retention and lower summer soil temperatures by the extra ground coverage from the litter. Grasshoppers also produce fecal matter that contains vital nutrients for plant growth; it breaks down more easily and faster than livestock feces.

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Identification

Grasshoppers differ from crickets in that their antennae are shorter compared to their bodies. Grasshoppers have the ability to hop, walk and fly. There are approximately 10,000 species of grasshoppers in the world.

How Do Grasshoppers Make the Environment Better?
Most grasshoppers are green, brown or olive-green. (grasshopper image by Ben Twist from Fotolia.com)

Function

Grasshoppers are selective about what they eat. Sometimes they consume plants that livestock prefer; other times they consume poisonous plants that livestock would not eat. Grasshoppers also contribute to the ecological environment by being consumed by other natural predators such as birds, spiders and lizards. Their feces, referred to as Frass, becomes fertilizer for plants. Grasshoppers also have a short lifespan and decompose quickly, also adding more vital nutrients by acting as fertilizer for plants.

How Do Grasshoppers Make the Environment Better?
Waste products give back to the environment by breaking down easily and providing vital nutrients. (Fertile Fields image by dustoh from Fotolia.com)

Geography

Grasshopper populations are found all throughout the United States. These insects are active predominantly during spring and summer months.

How Do Grasshoppers Make the Environment Better?
Grasshoppers are widespread throughout the United States. (The United States of America flag image by Ricardo Verde Costa from Fotolia.com)

Considerations

Grasshoppers contain up to 14 grams of protein. In many countries, grasshoppers are considered delicacies and are a great food source for humans. Countries such as Africa depend on the daily catching and consuming of grasshoppers during times of famine; the grasshopper provides all the necessary vitamins, fats, protein and nutrients when consumed. Grasshoppers are not to be consumed raw as they could give you a tapeworm infection.

Potential Benefit

Scientists are researching means in which to use grasshoppers that feed on particular weeds. Using grasshoppers for weed control may prove to be another positive effect that grasshoppers could have on the environment.

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