Subject: What is this? Can it hurt me?
Geographic location of the bug: Holiday, Florida
Time: 01:56 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Am visiting a friend and we saw this on the back fence. It’s maybe 1/2 inch long, stays in a small group. They haven’t left the fence for days. Is it dangerous, poisonous, to dogs? What is it?
How you want your letter signed: Victoria M.
These are the nymphs of the Eastern Lubber Grasshopper, a flightless species found in the southeast. According to BugGuide: “Juveniles (nymphs) tend to stick together in groups near a food source. (This probably enhances the effectiveness of their warning coloration.)” and “Adults are flightless. Coloration is aposematic (warning), apparently this species is distasteful to vertebrate predators. When disturbed, it will spread its wings, hiss, and secrete a smelly fluid from its spiracles. In some regions individuals are prevalently black, in others orange or yellow.“