Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 11:31 PM
I worked at a volunteer camp in St. Bernard, Louisiana for a couple of years and these huge grasshoppers were always a source of wonder! When they are little, they’re half and inch long and slowly roamed around in packs of 20+.
A few weeks later, they were about four inches long and traveled solo. They are so large that they can’t even really jump! When they tried, they often landed on their sides.
In the pics, the big guy looks like he is all black, but I am pretty sure he had the red and yellow marks like the little ones do.
They really creeped out all of the out-of-town recovery volunteeers. The locals called them Devil Horses. Any idea about these grasshoppers?
St. Bernard, LA
What a delightful written account of your encounters with the Eastern Lubber Grasshopper, Romalea microptera. This large species is distasteful to predators, which is why it has such slow lazy movements, there is no need for it to try to escape. According to BugGuide: “Common name lubber means “a clumsy or lazy person” (from Middle English lobre meaning lazy, or lout, related to lob ). The use for this grasshopper likely refers to their slow movements–with ample chemical defenses, this grasshopper does not need to move quickly. “ The species has variable coloration, with one morph appearing as a bright yellow-orange form.