Do Grasshoppers Bite? Debunking the Myths and Facts

Grasshoppers are a common sight in gardens and fields, often hopping and flying among plants. While they can cause damage to crops, many people wonder if these insects pose a threat to humans in the form of bites.

Generally, grasshoppers are not known for biting humans. Their main source of nutrition comes from plants, making humans an unlikely target. However, there are rare instances when a grasshopper may bite if it feels threatened or is handled roughly.

In comparison to other insects, grasshopper bites aren’t considered dangerous. They may cause mild pain or discomfort, but they don’t have venom or transmit diseases. To avoid getting bitten, it’s best to observe them without directly handling them.

Do Grasshoppers Bite?

Differences Between Biting and Stinging

Grasshoppers do have the ability to bite but they usually do not bite humans. Their mouthparts are designed for chewing on plants, rather than biting animals. However, stinging is a different story as grasshoppers do not have stingers and cannot sting.

Possible Irritation and Swelling

While grasshopper bites may not be common, they can cause mild irritation or swelling. Some possible symptoms when bitten include:

  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Minimal swelling

However, these symptoms usually subside after a short period of time.

Examples include:

  • Accidentally handling a grasshopper and getting bitten
  • Being bitten by a larger grasshopper species with stronger jaws

Features of a grasshopper bite:

  • Usually not painful or harmful
  • Occurs infrequently
  • May cause mild irritation

Characteristics of a grasshopper sting:

  • Nonexistent (they cannot sting)

To better illustrate the differences between biting and stinging, here’s a comparison table:

Grasshopper Bite Grasshopper Sting
Pain Minimal N/A
Frequency Rare N/A
Symptoms Itchiness, Redness, Swelling N/A

In summary, grasshoppers can bite but they typically do not bite humans and cannot sting. Bites may cause minor irritation, but generally pose no significant threat.

Grasshopper Anatomy and Behavior

Physical Characteristics

Grasshoppers possess a variety of physical features that set them apart. Some of their characteristics include:

  • Long antennae for sensing their surroundings
  • Large compound eyes for enhanced vision
  • Hind legs specialized for jumping
  • Wings for flying capabilities

Grasshoppers’ colors can vary greatly, serving as camouflage within their habitats.

Feeding Habits

Essentially, grasshoppers are herbivores. Their diet primarily includes:

  • Leaves
  • Stems
  • Flowers
  • Fruits

These insects have strong mandibles that enable them to chew and consume plant matter efficiently.

Jumping and Flying Abilities

Grasshoppers are known for their impressive jumping capabilities due to their powerful hind legs. They can:

  • Jump up to 20 times their body length
  • Fly over relatively long distances

In comparison to their jumping skills, grasshoppers’ flight abilities vary. For instance:

Grasshopper Type Jumping Ability Flying Ability
Short-winged Strong Limited
Long-winged (band-winged) Strong Moderate

In conclusion, grasshoppers are fascinating insects with unique anatomical features. Their physical characteristics, feeding habits, and jumping and flying abilities notably contribute to their success as a species.

Grasshoppers as Pests

Impact on Gardens and Crops

Grasshoppers can cause significant damage to gardens and crops. They are especially problematic when they become abundant, as they can consume large amounts of foliage during their nymphal development and adulthood1.

  • Example: In Florida, Romalea microptera and Schistocerca americana are considered the most serious grasshopper pests1, known to damage vegetables and other economically important plants.

Pest Control Methods

There are various methods to control grasshoppers and prevent damage to gardens and crops.

Insecticides

Some commonly used insecticides for grasshopper control include:

  • Spinosad: A natural substance produced by bacteria, effective against a wide range of insects2.
  • Pyrethroid: Synthetic insecticides, but less effective for controlling spider mites3.

Pros and Cons of Insecticides:

Insecticide Pros Cons
Spinosad Natural, effective against many insects. May be less potent.
Pyrethroid Synthetic, widely available. Can flare mite populations3.

Biological Control

Nosema locustae is a naturally occurring protozoan that can be used as a biological control agent against grasshoppers4.

  • Pros: Environmentally friendly and low risk to beneficial insects.
  • Cons: May not provide immediate control; works best as a preventive measure.

Final Thoughts

To effectively mitigate the impact of grasshoppers on gardens and crops, consider employing a combination of these methods, such as using insecticides and biological control, to optimize protection and minimize damage.

Defensive Mechanisms of Grasshoppers

Defensive Regurgitation

Grasshoppers have a unique defense mechanism called defensive regurgitation. This involves the expulsion of a brown liquid, sometimes referred to as “tobacco juice.” The liquid contains:

  • Digestive enzymes
  • Partially digested plant material

This unpleasant substance serves to deter potential predators, making them think twice before attempting to eat a grasshopper.

Physical Defense

Grasshoppers also rely on physical defenses to protect themselves. These include:

  • Spikes
  • Spines

The spikes and spines on their legs and bodies can be used to deter predators by making them harder to handle and less palatable.

Comparison of Defensive Mechanisms

Defense Mechanism Description Example
Defensive Regurgitation Expulsion of a brown liquid (“tobacco juice”) containing digestive enzymes and partially digested plant material Grasshopper ejecting liquid into a predator’s mouth
Physical Defense Presence of spikes and spines on legs and bodies of grasshoppers to deter predators Predator trying to grab a grasshopper but getting pricked by its spines

In summary, grasshoppers have developed defensive regurgitation and physical defense mechanisms to protect themselves from predators. These tactics discourage potential threats by making grasshoppers less appetizing and more difficult to handle.

Grasshopper Species and Their Habitats

Types of Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers are medium to large herbivorous insects, with adult lengths ranging from 1 to 7 cm. Some well-known species include:

  • Brachystola magna (Plains Lubber)
  • Schistocerca americana (American Bird Grasshopper)
  • Melanoplus femurrubrum (Red-legged Grasshopper)

These insects have two pairs of wings, chewing mouthparts, and long hind legs for jumping. They often form migrating groups or swarms and can be seen in dry open habitats with lots of grass. Grasshoppers in swarms tend to be significant agricultural pests.

Geographical Distribution

Species Distribution
Plains Lubber North America
American Bird Grasshopper North and South America
Red-legged Grasshopper North America

Grasshoppers can be found in diverse regions, from deserts to jungles, but mainly prefer dry areas. Their presence can sometimes result in significant damage to crops and vegetation.

Grasshoppers in the Ecosystem

Predators of Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers are an essential part of many ecosystems, serving as prey for various predators. Here are some common predators of grasshoppers:

  • Praying mantises: These insects are known for their impressive hunting skills and often feed on grasshoppers.
  • Lizards: Many lizard species, like the leopard gecko, include grasshoppers in their diet.
  • Birds: Numerous avian species consume grasshoppers as a nutrient-rich protein source.

Role in the Food Chain

Grasshoppers play a vital role in the food chain, providing essential nutrients to their predators while they also consume vegetation. As both predators and prey, grasshoppers connect different parts of the ecosystem.

Grasshoppers as prey: As nymphs and adults, grasshoppers offer an essential source of protein for their predators, supporting the survival and reproduction of these species.

Grasshoppers as consumers: By consuming various plant species, grasshoppers contribute to the breakdown and recycling of nutrients in the ecosystem.

To better visualize the role of grasshoppers in the food chain, here’s a comparison table:

Grasshoppers Predators Role in Ecosystem
Nymph and Adult Praying mantises Serve as a protein source for various predators
Nymph and Adult Lizards Contribute to nutrient recycling
Nymph and Adult Birds Support the survival and reproduction of predators

In summary, grasshoppers play an essential role in the ecosystem by serving as both consumers and prey, thereby connecting different parts of the food chain and contributing to overall biodiversity.

Dealing with Grasshopper Bites

First Aid Tips

Grasshoppers are not known for biting humans, but in rare cases, it can happen. If bitten, follow these simple steps:

  1. Clean the bite area: Use soap and water to clean the bite area.
  2. Apply calamine lotion: This helps to alleviate itching and irritation.

Preventing Grasshopper Bites

Preventing grasshopper bites involves reducing their population and avoiding attracting them. Here are some tips:

  • Eliminate breeding sites: Remove tall grass and weeds.
  • Use a bucket of soapy water: Catch grasshoppers and place them in soapy water to kill them.

By applying these simple measures, you can reduce the likelihood of experiencing grasshopper bites.

Footnotes

  1. Entomology and Nematology Department 2

  2. Grasshopper Control in Gardens and Small Acreages

  3. NDSU – Which Insecticide is Best for Grasshopper Control? 2

  4. PMC – Control of Pest Grasshoppers in North America

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Grasshopper from Thailand

 

Subject: Grasshopper in Thailand
Location: Chaloklum, Koh phangan, Thailand.
April 3, 2017 5:09 am
Dear Bugman,
Could you help to indentify the species of this grashopper. Its size was between 5 and 10 centimeter and I was in on an island in the Gulf of Thailand between September and January.
Kind regards,
Signature: T. Brokke

Grasshopper

Dear T. Brokke,
Most of our searching turned up batches of fried Grasshoppers served as snacks in Thailand.  We did find a matching image on the 123RF stock photo site, but it was only identified as a “Yellow Grasshopper.”  We also found it identified as a Giant Grasshopper on the 123 Naturfotos site.  We also found it unidentified on Shutterstock.  It is also unidentified on Alamy.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck with an identification.

Letter 2 – Grasshopper from Panama

 

Subject: Insect on birding walk
Location: Pipeline Road, Panama City
February 24, 2015 3:43 pm
This beautiful creature was on the trail, on the ground and very much alive, around 9 in the morning. I’m guessing it’s a leafhopper? Can you help identify?
Signature: Panama hiker

Grasshopper
Grasshopper

Dear Panama hiker,
This is a gorgeous red eyed Grasshopper, and we found matching images on John Afdem’s Panama Photog Blog and FlickR, but alas, they are not identified by the species or genus.
  Another FlickR posting identifies is as Coscineuta coxalisWe verified the species name on Encyclopedia of Life.

Letter 3 – Grasshopper from Australia may be Giant Valanga

 

Subject: Locust identification
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
January 21, 2015 3:31 am
Hi,
I took these photos of a locust/grasshopper in a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia about 2 weeks ago and would be interested in knowing what it is. It was around 5-6 inches (125-150mm) in length. I was thinking it was a female spur-throated locust but now I’m not so sure as they apparently do not grow this big. Any idea?
Signature: Chris

Grasshopper
Grasshopper

Dear Chris,
The profile image of this Grasshopper is positively gorgeous, and the detail in the hind leg showing the red spines is so technically excellent that we are also including a close-up of that significant detail.  We wonder if this might be a Giant Grasshopper,
Valanga irregularis, which we located on the Brisbane Insect site.  According to the site:  “The Giant Grasshoppers are the largest grasshoppers in Australia. They also commonly known as Giant Valanga and Hedge Grasshoppers. They are native to Australia. The adult size vary from 60-90mm. They are common in Brisbane bushes and backyards. We found these grasshoppers easily on every board leaf plants in our backyard. They eat almost all kinds of leaves. In the early morning, we usually found them sun-bathing on leaf. At that time they are slow-moving. After they have been warmed up, they jump and fly away quickly. Notice the spines on their hind legs, if they are caught by birds or by spider web, they will attack their predators by their hind legs.  Their body colour and patterns are vary between individuals. Usually adults are greyish green and brown in colours with black dots pattern on forewings. The colours resemble the plant stem where they hide.” 

Grasshopper
Grasshopper
Hind Leg of a Grasshopper
Hind Leg of a Grasshopper

Letter 4 – Grasshopper from Australia

 

Subject: Large grasshopper
Location: Scone, NSW., Australia
March 16, 2014 3:01 am
Please can you tell me what this grasshopper is? I live in Australia. This is the female and is 6.4cm from head to tip of wing. It is a pale brown colour when alive with darker markings, but has gone darker and redder since freezing. They fly very fast and are difficult to catch! I have many in my suburban garden and plan to do a drawing of the specimen. It would be great if you could also give me the scientific description e.g. phylum, class, order, family and genus. Thank you.

Grasshopper
Grasshopper

The best we are able to provide for you at this time is the taxonomy to the family level.
Phylum Arthropoda – Arthropods
Class Insecta – Insects
Order Orthoptera – Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids
Suborder Caelifera – Grasshoppers
Family Acrididae – Short-horned Grasshoppers.

Grasshopper
Grasshopper
Grasshoppers
Grasshoppers

 

Letter 5 – Grasshopper from Australia

 

Subject: Valanga irregularis
Location: Perth, Western Australia
May 13, 2014 7:12 am
Just commented on a post on your website about a giant grasshopper found last November in Perth, Western Australia. We also found one in a bougainvillea outside our window (under the eaves, which would have sheltered it from the recent rains), but the websites I’ve seen put these as living in our tropical top end, not here in the temperate south. We are in Autumn, just heading into winter. Are they lost???
Signature: Helen

Grasshopper
Giant Grasshopper

Dear Helen,
Your identification appears to be correct.  According to the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, the Giant Grasshopper or Hedge Grasshopper is “Very large – Australia’s biggest grasshopper.”  According to Csiro, the Giant Grasshopper is found in Western Australia, but it does not indicate if it ranges as far south as Perth.  Perhaps this is another symptom of global warming.

Letter 6 – Grasshopper from Colombia: Aristia mordax

 

Subject: Jiminy Cricket
Location: near Medellin, Colombia
April 23, 2013 2:08 pm
Hi,
I was in Colombia, and took a picture of what I believe to be a Cricket… but what do i know? Not a lot about Crickets.
So I have a pretty good picture here. When I search for cricket images on Google, I don’t find anything like the picture i’ve taken.
Can you identify please? I’ve got the photo on Flickr.
Thanks
Signature: David Casserly

Grasshopper
Grasshopper:  Aristia mordax

Hi David,
While we are unable to provide you with an exact species name, we can tell you that this Colombian Orthopteran is a Grasshopper in the family Acrididae.

Ah ha, it’s not even a cricket! That makes sense, as I took this picture during the day.
Thanks for the info

Easy mistake as Grasshoppers and Crickets are both in the order Orthoptera.

Update:  October 27, 2013
We received a comment today from caranpaima who identified this as a male
Aristia mordax, and we verified that with this photo on FlickR and this black and white image of a mounted specimen on Orthoptera Species File online. 

Letter 7 – Grasshopper from Brazil

 

Zoniopoda Grasshopper
Location: Pirituba, São Paulo/SP, Brazil
February 17, 2012 6:41 pm
Hello, there!
In november 2011, I sent some photos of an immature grasshopper 2011/11/24/immature-grasshopper-from-brazil/ which Karl believes it could be Zoniopoda tarsata. This mature one that my friend Paulo found, looks a lot like the image he sent us a link http://www.faunaparaguay.com/Zoniopoda%20tarsata%20PROCOSARA%20david%20gill%2026%20march%2008.jpg. I noticed little differences in the forelegs, but I still believe this must be a subspecies of Z. tarsata.
Signature: Cesar Crash

Grasshopper from Brazil

Hi Cesar,
Thanks for sending this photo of a beautiful grasshopper.  We believe the previous identification is correct and this is
Zoniopoda tarsata.

Letter 8 – Grasshopper from Canada

 

Subject: What type of insect is this?
Location: southern Ontario
March 13, 2017 4:31 pm
Are you able to identify this bug for us? It was found in a parking lot by a park in southern Ontario.
Signature: Lindsay

Grasshopper

Hi Lindsay,
This is some species of Grasshopper, but we do not know its exact identity.  The shape of its wings are unusual.  It is possible that it was recently metamorphosed and its wings had not yet fully hardened.  We suspect this was not a late winter sighting this year.  Please clarify when the sighting occurred.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for your response. Yes, sorry I forgot to add the date the photo was taken. It was from early July 2016.
Thank you,
Lindsay

Letter 9 – Grasshopper from Costa Rica

 

Subject: Costa Rica unusual antennae grasshopper
Location: Cahuita, Costa Rica
April 26, 2013 11:46 am
Greetings.
I haven’t been able to identify this critter beyond probably immature, probably Acrididae. When I first saw it, I couldn’t even figure out which part was the head. Some photos are out of focus, but I included them for general anatomical shapes.
Photographed in Caribbean foothills of the Talamanca range, near Cahuita, Limon, Costa Rica in late February, late afternoon on the mossy side of a tree about eye level. I’m guessing it was about 2 cm long.
Signature: Karin

Grasshopper
Grasshopper

Dear Karin,
We did a quick search of Costa Rican Grasshoppers on the internet, and we came up blank.  Meanwhile, we have contacted Piotr Naskrecki who is an expert on Katydids.  We thought he might be able to assist with this different Orthopteran group.

Autoreply from Piotr Naskrecki
THIS IS AN AUTOMATIC REPLY: I will be in Mozambique until June 2nd, 2013. During this time I will have limited access to e-mail. I will respond to your message as soon as I can.
Cheers,
Piotr

Information Courtesy of Karl
November 12, 2013
Hi Daniel and Karen:
This nymph is a variety of Lubber grasshopper (Romeleidae) in the subfamily Romaleinae and tribe Procolpini. I photographed the same or very similar grasshopper nymph in the Arenal region of Costa Rica in 2010 (photo attached), and identifying it turned out to be far more challenging than I would have expected for such a distinctive insect. I eventually decided that the genus was Munatia. The genus has only two species, M. punctata and M. biolleyi, both of which are present in Costa Rica. I used the keys and descriptions provided by Rowell (1998) to identify my grasshopper as M. biolleyi. The color of Karen’s grasshopper doesn’t quite match the descriptions provided by Rowell for either Munatia species (base color should be some shade of brown or green) but it is essentially identical to my nymph and Rowell’s descriptions in all other respects. Based on the Caribbean location of Karen’s photo and several key anatomical features (e.g., shape of the pronotum and the presence of a small but prominent white tubercle in the middle of pronotum) I believe it be M. biolleyi as well. Hopefully Piotr can eventually provide confirmation or an alternative identification. Regards.  Karl

Grasshopper:  Munatia biolleyi
Grasshopper: Munatia biolleyi

Thanks Karl,
Your knowledgeable research is always appreciated.

Letter 10 – Grasshopper from Israel

 

Acrida bicolor from Israel
Tue, Dec 23, 2008 at 12:31 AM
Hi Bug People!
I saw this fellow, Acrida bicolor, on a hike last weekend (December 19th) in the Judaean desert, not far from the Dead Sea. I thought that such a remarkable creature must be posted on WTB, so here are three pictures. One on a red background to emphasize its color patterns, one on my hand as a size reference, and one in its natural habitat, to show its camoflage.
Enjoy!
Ben, Israel
Zohar ravine, Judaean desert.

Acrida bicolor from Israel
Acrida bicolor from Israel

Hi Ben,
Thanks for sending us these wonderful images of Grasshopper from Israel.  It sure is an interesting looking specimen.

Acrida bicolor from Israel
Acrida bicolor from Israel

Letter 11 – Grasshopper from Israel

 

Green Acrida bicolor from Israel
April 12, 2010
Hi WTB,
I sent you a set of brown Acrida bicolor a couple years ago and you posted them:
2008/12/24/grasshopper-from-israel/
So here’s a green one to complete the series.
Ben
Eastern Samaria, Israel

Acrida bicolor

Hi Ben,
Thanks so much for providing us with another image of this stunning Grasshopper from the deserts of Israel and surrounding countries.

Acrida bicolor

Letter 12 – Grasshopper from South Africa

 

Subject: Grashopper
Location: eastern Botswana
November 24, 2015 1:04 am
Dear Sirs
I would like to know, what kind of grasshopper is on the attached photo?
It was ca. 7 cm in lengh.
Signature: Mannanna

Grasshopper
Grasshopper

Dear Mannanna,
The flat antennae on your individual are quite distinctive, and though members of the Stick Grasshopper subfamily Acridinae all have flat antennae, we are not fully confident that is the correct taxonomy for your individual.  We are relatively confident the family Acrididae is correct.  Here is an image from iSpot of a Stick Grasshopper in the subfamily Acridinae that looks somewhat similar to your individual.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to supply us with additional information.

Letter 13 – Grasshopper from United Arab Emirates: Acrida bicolor

 

Sticky-looking bug from UAE
January 10, 2010
I found this chill guy sitting on the porch one night in United Arab Emirates, in the more rural area. He looks like a sort of a mix between a praying mantis, a stick insect and a grasshopper (look at those long hind legs!), but I can’t really identify him with any sort of accuracy.
To scale, I’d say he was about two and a half to three inches long.
Maria
United Arab Emirates

Acrida bicolor
Acrida bicolor

Hi Maria,
This unusual insect is a desert dwelling Grasshopper, Acrida bicolor, and we have not been successful in locating a common name.  We received some nice images of Acrida bicolor back in 2008 and we located an Israeli website with some nice photos of the species.

Letter 14 – Grasshopper identification needed for Biology Pre-Ap project!!!

 

What is this Grasshopper?!?!?
September 13, 2009
Hi Mr. Bugman!
I am a ninth grade student down in Texas, and I am doing a Biology Pre-Ap project on Arthropods. I caught this grasshopper (actually, my dad did 🙂 in a dry creekbed. The pictures are of the side, top, and bottom view. I was wondering if you could Identify it. Please and Thanks!!!  Please help!!! Due date coming up soon :). Thank you for all of your help. I might need more soon!
Student in Need
San Antonio Area, Texas

Grasshopper
Grasshopper

Dear Student in Need,
We do not condone parents doing homework for students which constitutes academic dishonesty.  We feel the same about identifying the four photographs you have sent to us, though we applaud your honesty in admitting that these identifications are needed quickly for a school project.  The purpose of this project is to teach necessary skills that you would not be getting should we identify all of your requests for you.  Since this is a research project, we would recommend that you try to identify your three grasshoppers on BugGuide by browsing through the Grasshoppers in the suborder Caelifera, and that you try to identify the Skipper by browsing through the superfamily Hesperioidea also on BugGuide.  Even if your identifications are incorrect, you will be learning the fundamentals of taxonomic classification and eventually learning the correct answers in school can become part of a learning dialog.

Eric Eaton Comments
September 16, 2009
Daniel:
I very much like how you handled this identification request!  Should you eventually want to post this somewhere else on your site, I can tell you it is a female in the genus Syrbula.  I think both species occur in Texas.  Males are smaller and dark brown with ivory markings.
Eric

Letter 15 – Grasshopper Mantid

 

Preying Mantis
Location: NW of Nogales, Arizona
October 11, 2011 2:20 pm
I took photographs of an interesting preying mantis near the Mexican border NW of Nogales, Arizona a couple of years ago and would like to identify it. Can anyone help me? See the two photos.
Signature: Glenn McCrea

Grasshopper Mantid

Hi Glenn,
Your fascinating Mantis is one of two species in the genus
Yersiniops and they are commonly called Grasshopper Mantids.  We quickly identified them on bugGuide which states:  “A small species, less than 35 mm long.”  Also according to BugGuide, Yersiniops sophronicum is sometimes called the Horned Ground Mantid, and we suspect that since your individual has more pronounced horns, it is likely the Horned Ground Mantid.  The other species, Yersiniops solitarium, has less pronounced horns according to the photos posted on BugGuide.

Horned Ground Mantid

 

Letter 16 – Grasshopper from South Africa

 

Subject: Unknown Orthoptera
Location: Cape Point, South Africa
September 15, 2014 3:23 am
Good morning from Cape Town !
I found this lovely little chap at Cape Point at the weekend, so he’s a deep southern African spring lover, and I cannot figure out what he can be. I think maybe he is a juvenile something, but none of my resources have anything to say that the bugs I would expect to find here start out with thes little pink protuberances on their bodies.
Any assistance with identification would be greatly appreciated.
Signature: Cathy

Grasshopper
Grasshopper

Dear Cathy,
We were only able to locate one posting on iSpot that looks like your immature Grasshopper, and it is identified as a member of the family
Thericleidae, but the other members of the family do not look similar.

Grasshopper
Grasshopper

Letter 17 – Grasshopper from West Australia

 

Subject: Species ID request
Location: Inland of Port Hedland
March 4, 2016 5:01 pm
Hi, this little guy is from Cloudbreak in the Pilbara and am just curious who he is please?
Signature: Regards, Kerry

Grasshopper
Grasshopper

Dear Kerry,
This is a Grasshopper in the suborder Caelifera, but we don’t believe we will be able to identify the species based on the unusual angle of your image.  The image is quite stunning, which is why we are posting it as unidentified.

Letter 18 – Grasshopper from Western Australia

 

Subject:  Stripey black and white Grasshopper?
Geographic location of the bug:  Bullsbrook area, Perth, Western Australia
Date: 04/07/2018
Time: 01:15 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi! I found this cute looking little guy in my front yard and I cant seem to identify him.  Thank you for helping.
How you want your letter signed:  Taylah

Grasshopper

Dear Taylah,
We have not had any luck providing you with a species identification.  We could not locate any similar looking Grasshoppers on the Esperance Fauna page nor on the Brisbane Insect site.  The bulbous eyes on your individual are quite distinctive. 

Grasshopper

Letter 19 – Grasshopper from Costa Rica: Nicarchus erinaceus

 

Subject: Grasshopper from Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica
January 7, 2014 4:37 pm
Hello Bugman,
could you help me to identify the exact species of this unusual Grasshopper that I photographed in Costa Rica?
Thank you very much!
Signature: Frank

Orthopteran
Grasshopper

Dear Frank,
Do you have an image that shows the antennae in their entirety?  The antennae are a very important diagnostic feature of insects and they should be included in images that you want to have identified.  We would not want to classify beyond the order Orthoptera without seeing the antennae.

Hello Daniel,
thank you so much for answering! I am attaching another pic that shows more of the antennae. Maybe you can work with that? I am afraid I was unable to take better pictures of that one…
Thank you so much!
Best regards from Lima
Frank

Orthopteran
Grasshopper Nicarchus erinaceus

Thanks Frank,
We would really love to know how long those antennae are.  We are uncertain if this is a Grasshopper or a Katydid, but we are leaning toward a Grasshopper.  We are going to try to contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can provide any information.

Hi Daniel,
I am pretty sure the antennae weren’t quite that long and that this was a grasshopper. Thanks again!

Piotr Naskrecki provides an identification:
Hi Daniel,
The name of this grasshopper is Nicarchus erinaceus (Acrididae: Ommatolampidinae). Some species in this group have spines and bumps on their bodies, and characteristically flattened antennae.
Cheers,
Piotr

Letter 20 – Grasshopper may be Chortophaga viridifasciata australior

 

Subject: Grasshopper Needs a Name
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
August 24, 2016 11:59 am
While roaming around Winding Waters Natural Area in West Palm Beach, Florida, I found this grasshopper hanging out in the tall grass. He (or she) posed for several pictures and even waved to the camera! This natural area is full of American bird grasshoppers but I don’t think this grasshopper is from that family. Any ideas? Thanks for providing an awesome bug identification service – I always learn something new when I visit your site.
Signature: Ann Mathews

Grasshopper
Grasshopper

Dear Ann,
We did not think that such a distinctive green Grasshopper with red antennae and blue tibiae would be that difficult to properly identify, but we were wrong.  After trying for some time on BugGuide, we decided to post it as unidentified and to elicit assistance from our readership.

Grasshopper
Grasshopper

I’m with you on the “oh, this should be an easy critter to identify” mindset. When I got back to the office and saw I actually had some decent pictures of the grasshopper I thought it would be a piece of cake to do the identification. Hopefully someone seeing this post will be able to give this distinctive insect its proper name. Until then, I will call it Gerry the Grasshopper.
Ann Mathews
Palm Beach County
Department of Environmental Resources Management

Update:  Chortophaga viridifasciata australior
Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash, we agree that this looks like it might be Chortophaga viridifasciata australior which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “The hind tibiae are brown or bluish green.”

Letter 21 – Grasshopper from Australia is Musgrave’s Psednura

 

Subject:  Insect Identification Request
Geographic location of the bug:  Booderee National Park, New South Wales, Australia
Date: 10/24/2021
Time: 12:09 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I photographed this in February, 2020, and would love to know what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Nick

Unidentified Grasshopper

Dear Nick,
We are having difficulty identifying your Grasshopper.  It looks similar to the Giant Green Slantface pictured on Brisbane Insects and it looks similar to the Matchstick Grasshoppers also pictured on Brisbane Insects. Your individual has a greater distance between the eyes and the antennae.  Perhaps one of our readers will write in with some assistance.

Thanks for the reply. I didn’t even know it was a grasshopper, so that’s great to know. I have another query relating to some insects that I photographed in a kangaroo’s tail. Shall I submit a form for that too?

Unidentified Grasshopper

Update:  October 25, 2021
Thanks to a comment from Matthew Connors, we have been able to identify this as Musgrave’s Psednura (Psednura musgravei).  Here is an image from Atlas of Living Australia and on Project Noah.  Interestingly, we missed it on Brisbane Insects because we did not suspect it was in the family Pyrgomorphidae as it does not resemble other Milkweed Grasshoppers.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts

25 thoughts on “Do Grasshoppers Bite? Debunking the Myths and Facts”

  1. It’s edible.
    Though I don’t know about the range of this particular species, I once got a small amount of grasshoppers from Nigeria, and mixed into the sample were some of these really alien-looking heads-on-periscopes pieces. I’m pretty sure that this is what they are. They’re not the tastiest insects I’ve had, but they were very far from fresh and freshness seems to make a big difference when it comes to edible insects.
    In the bigger picture, insects that utilize camouflage are likelier to be edible than those sporting bright colors, but there are some notable exceptions, such as Lonomia, a genus of Saturnid. The caterpillars can kill people on contact.

    Best,

    Dave
    http://www.slshrimp.com

    Reply
  2. Well, not IMMEDIATELY on contact; I didn’t mean to imply that. But there are some cases of unfortunate humans who stepped on these caterpillars in the Amazon rainforest and eventually died as a result.

    Reply
  3. Hi

    This hopper is not Acrida bicolor.

    This specimen is a Truxalis sp (also Acridinae).
    The question is what Truxalis?

    The long antennae hint for Truxalis Longicornis but according the Fauna Palaestina / Acridoidea T. Longicornis known only from the central Negav.
    Still is not look like the other Truxalis I know and its similar to the T. Longicornis in the below link
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/naseer_ommer/359603734/

    So if this is T. Longicornis this is very nice record for quite rare Acridinae

    photos of Truxalis spp and Acrida bicolor u can see in my album
    http://www.tapuz.co.il/Albums/publicAlbum.asp?a=647532&u=113868&pageNumber=1&o=4&ao=1

    Tks

    Amir
    Israel
    http://insectour.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  4. i do not like the fact that you didnt help with the identification of this bug…when your bug collection is a for a 100 point grade and your teacher doesnt give “well i’m glad you tried” points that the experts should help!

    Reply
    • Dear mackenzie,
      Thanks for recognizing that “to help people identify bugs” is the point and not for us to do all the work. For this reason, we gave this person enough links and clues to begin to do the research, which is the entire point of the project. We did assist. We still believe that we handled this in an appropriate manner. If you do not like the way that we handled the situation, then you are entirely free to never visit our website again, and we will not hold it against you. We do not feel guilty if the person working on this collection did not get a 100 point grade because it would be doing a disservice to education to be given a grade that was not earned.

      Reply
  5. i understand that you didnt want to do the work for the student and yes i’m glad you gave him links..but he was trying to do the research on your website…but i understand your reasoning…this is the only thing about the site that i do not like and i don’t think that that is enough of a reason to stop visiting it..it has been very helpful with identifying bugs for my own biology bug collection =]

    Reply
  6. again..i understand..my teacher gave me a list of websites to use to identify my bugs and this one was at the very top!! it has helped me a lot!!

    Reply
  7. I believe that this is a Spur-Throated Locust (Austracris guttulosa), or a very closely related species. Although the colour is lighter when alive (as has been said in the original message), the markings and body shape match the species almost exactly.
    The taxonomy is as follows:
    Phylum: Arthropoda – Arthropods
    Class: Insecta – Insects
    Order: Orthoptera – Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids
    Suborder: Caelifera – Grasshoppers
    Family: Acrididae – Short-Horned Grasshoppers
    Tribe: Cyrtacanthacridini – Giant Spur-Throated Grasshoppers
    Genus: Austracris
    Species: A. guttulosa – Spur-Throated Locust

    Reply
  8. I just had one of these stuck to my foot outside trying to get my cat in, it was at least 15-17 cm long (I reside in the UAE) single scariest moment of my life when I’m half asleep.

    Reply
  9. How can I find the address of a contributor? I would like Frank for permission to use his second image of Nicarchus erinaceus in my free online book on Bryophyte Ecology . I discuss this mimic in a chapter in interactions of mosses and insects and this would be a great image to illustrate it.

    Reply
    • Hi Janice,
      This posting is over a year and a half old, and we are not able to trace the identity of the submitter because of the use of a first name only. Our submission form grants What’s That Bug? the right to post images and letters on our site and on WTB? authorized publications. Since your book will be free, you will not be profiting from the image. Frank who submitted the image might eventually write back if he sees your comment, but we do have permission, through our online form, to grant you permission to use the image. We have searched our archives and found the original, higher resolution file, and we will send it to you via your provided email account. Please credit What’s That Bug? and Frank.

      Reply
    • Thanks Cesar, but according to BugGuide that appears to be a western species and the sighting was in Florida. We do believe the Band-Wing Grasshopper Subfamily Oedipodinae is correct.

      Reply
    • Thank you so much for your identification. We will now update the posting and search the internet to provide links to images that are available on the web.

      Reply

Leave a Comment