Grasshopper Lifecycle

Introduction: is a Grasshopper an Animal

The grasshopper is a flying species that belongs to the order Orthoptera and class Insecta. There are around 11,000 species. They are herbivorous and usually seen in autumn; few emerge in summer and spring

The male grasshopper deposits sperm into the female vagina during sex, which finds its way to the eggs through channels known as micropyles.

Grasshopper lifespan is approximately one year.

Grasshopper Mating Season

Grasshoppers replicate in large numbers. Male and female grasshoppers mate as summer changes to autumn. Males fertilize the females, who deposit the eggs that will become the grasshopper population next summer.

The female drives its elongated abdomen into the ground for a cluster of eggs to deposit. In a season, one female could lay as many as 300 eggs. The eggs are coated with a sticky substance that helps protect them during the winter as they lie dormant underground.

The newly hatched youngster closely resembles adults, except they have no wings yet. As their evolution continues, they change little in structure — just growing bigger.

In comparison to other species, the life cycle of the grasshopper consists of three stages-the egg, the nymph, the adult. This type of life cycle, where there are three stages, is called incomplete metamorphosis. The three stages are

The grasshopper, like the dragonfly, undergoes incomplete metamorphosis. The three stages from conception to adult in a grasshopper’s life cycle is as follows:

  • Egg

  • Nymph

  • Adult 

Egg:

Grasshopper’s life - cycle starts from the egg stage. The Female Grasshoppers lay the fertilized eggs in the form of Egg Pods by mid - summer, usually more than 10, either in the sand or in the litter of the leaves.

Each Egg Pod consists of roughly 10-300 rice-shaped eggs. In the autumn and winter seasons the eggs remain dormant for nearly ten months. The eggs hatch into Nymphs (offspring) by the spring or early summer.

Nymph 

The young Nymphs start feeding immediately after hatching on soft and succulent plant foliages. Nymphs are miniature versions of Adult Grasshoppers except they are color-light and do not have Wings.

Nymphs undergo 5 - 6 moults before becoming adults, and change their shape and structure. This process of moulting is called Incomplete Metamorphosis.

Based on the species and weather conditions, particularly temperature and humidity, the Nymphal Stage may last for a period of 5 to 10 days. As the Nymphs moult, their size increases, and wing pads on the body's Thorax section progressively develop.

Adult 

The Wings are fully developed after 25 - 30 days, and the Nymphs ripen into adults. By the time an egg ripens to an adult, the Grasshopper is about 11 months old.

Studies have found that the survival rate of Nymphs after hatching is about 50%, as predators such as by providing food for many predators in the food chain, Grasshoppers therefore play a major role in the effective functioning of an ecosystem. birds, rodents and lizards are likely to eat them at high chances.

By providing food for many predators in the food chain, Grasshoppers thus play a major role in the effective functioning of an ecosystem. A swarm of Grasshoppers, also known as Locusts, could cause severe harm to the crops and affect crop yields.

Characteristics of Grasshopper

  • Grasshoppers are insects that are medium to large. The adult length depends on the species, from 1 to 7 cms.

  • They have chewing mouthparts, two pairs of wings, one narrow and tough, the other broad and flexible, and long jumping hind legs.

  • In having short antennas that do not reach very far back on their bodies they are different from those groups with long antennas.

  • Usually, grasshoppers have big eyes and are colored to blend into their environment , usually a combination of brown, grey or green.

  • The males have bright colors on their wings in some species, which they use to attract females.

  • A few species eat toxic plants, and keep the toxins for protection in their bodies. They are colored brightly to warn predators they taste bad.

  • Female grasshoppers are larger than males, and have pointed spots at the end of their abdomen to help them lay underground eggs.

  • Sometimes male grasshoppers have special structures on their wings which they rub on their hind legs or rub together to make sounds.

Locusts and Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers and locusts are both insects belonging to the family Acrididae. Locusts are grasshoppers, who under preferable environments form a swarm. Locust grasshoppers favor conditions that include thick growth of vegetation after a long period of zero vegetation. 

When compared to a grasshopper, locusts have higher flight capabilities. While both have similar appearances, in terms of their structure, grasshopper differs from locusts. The life cycle of locust is similar to that of a grasshopper. Where their lifecycle is also an incomplete metamorphosis occurring in three stages (egg, nymph and adult).

Difference Between Locust and Grasshopper

Grasshoppers

Locusts

Structural Differences Between Locusts and Grasshoppers

The front wings are thin and hard while the outside wings are broad and flexible

The wings are getting longer and stronger so long-distance flights are possible

Behavioral Differences

In the first-place solitary creatures, they come together for reproduction only throughout their lives.

They can be found in solitary confinement, mostly in groups where they drill, bask and roost.

Sedentary species which have the same habitat for long periods of time

Migratory species in search of food frequently move from one location to another

Human Interactions

They are also treated as pests because of their ability to destroy crops, an issue which has plagued farmers for centuries

Aid farmers to prepare for droughts as swarms of locusts indicate the arrival of a dry period in the area

 

Key Points

The grasshopper is a flying species that belongs to the order Orthoptera and class Insecta and it has a lifespan of one year.

Grasshoppers replicate in large numbers. Male and female grasshoppers mate as summer changes to autumn. Males fertilize the females, who deposit the eggs that will become the grasshopper population next summer.

The grasshopper, like the dragonfly, undergoes incomplete metamorphosis. The three stages from conception to adult in a grasshopper’s life cycle is as follows:

  • Egg

  • Nymph

  • Adult 

When compared to a grasshopper, locusts have higher flight capabilities. While both have similar appearances, in terms of their structure, grasshopper differs from locusts. The life cycle of locust is similar to that of a grasshopper. Where their lifecycle is also an incomplete metamorphosis occurring in three stages (egg, nymph and adult).

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. When do Grasshoppers Come Out?

During the day, grasshoppers are the most active but also feed in the evening. They have no nests or territories and some species undergo long migrations to find new food supplies.

2. What is the Life Cycle of a Grasshopper?

There are only three stages to the grasshopper life cycle: embryo, nymph, and adult. Metamorphosis is called the process of transitioning from egg to full adult grasshopper. Metamorphosis for a grasshopper is incomplete.

3. What about Grasshopper Food?

Grasshoppers especially love cotton, clover, oats, wheat, corn, alfalfa, rye, and barley but will also eat grasses, weeds, shrubbery, leaves, bark, flowers, and seeds. Some grasshoppers consume poisonous plants and store the poisons in their bodies to deter predators.

4. Write Examples of Insects Which Undergo Incomplete Metamorphosis?

Grasshopper with a one-year lifespan, locust life span is 2 years and dragonfly lifespan is 6 months. These insects undergo incomplete metamorphosis.