Thursday, June 29, 2017

Leggy Bugs--Grasshoppers

These REALLLY leggy bugs are great jumpers. As if having spectacular jumping legs weren’t enough for grasshoppers for locomotion, they even have wings to fly with. Visit a-z animals ”Grasshopper” website for basic information and images.
about 2 inches long although larger grasshoppers are found on a fairly regular basis that grow to more than 5 inches in length … all species of grasshopper have a three-part body … head … thorax … abdomen … six legs, two pairs of wings, and two antennae.

Grasshoppers have six jointed legs that are incredibly powerful for such a small creature, as grasshoppers are able to jump extraordinary distances. The two back legs of the grasshopper are long and powerful and are just for jumping, where the four front legs of the grasshopper are primarily used to hold onto prey and to help it to walk.
Grasshopper Anatomy” has overall descriptions, images, and additional information about body parts. The site is succinct about the grasshopper legs’ purposes.
The biggest Grasshoppers are about 4.5 inches (11.5 centimetres) long. Their legs are long hind legs that are used for hopping and jumping. The short front legs are used to hold prey and to walk.
"Grasshopper World, up-close and personal" is interesting for closeup views that include color effects and music. No narration and scant text, but the description area is reasonably informative.

Arthropod Morphology Parts of an Insect (Grasshopper)” shows a grasshopper diagram with body part identifiers and glossary. A complementary resource is Quizlet’s “Grasshopper” website.

"Grasshopper Facts for Kids" is a YouTube slide show with text and images. Information about jumping distances and mechanics of jumping run from about 1:50 to 2:30.

Two Websites that Emphasize Grasshopper Jumps

These two websites explain the structure of grasshopper hind legs and mechanics of jumping capability.

From “How the [Grasshopper] Legs Work”—
The thick part at the top of the leg (femur) contains the muscles which make the thinner lower part (tibia) move. The foot at the end of the leg has sharp claws, which give the grasshopper a good grip so that its foot doesn't skid when it pushes on the ground as it jumps.
From “Basic Requirements” (for good grasshopper jump)—
First, the legs have to thrust on the ground with a lot of force.
If the thrust is too low, the animal doesn't get a fast enough take-off and it doesn't jump very far.

Second, the legs have to develop this force quickly.
If the thrust builds up too slowly, the legs will extend before the thrust reaches its maximum. Once the grasshopper is standing on tip-toe, it can't thrust against the ground any more.
Two Grasshopper-featured Stories

Grasshoppers are in a couple of notable stories—both also involving ants. One story is an Aesop fable. More recent is A Bug’s Life (1998). A YouTube video is a movie excerpt featuring a tribe of grasshoppers discussing ants.

Wider View of Jumper Insects

The focus for this article has been strictly grasshoppers WRT leggy bugs. Other jumping insects are also significant. The Orthoptera order includes grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids. Grasshoppers are in the Caelifera suborder. What about locusts, you might wonder. They belong to the Acrididae family.

Difference Between Locust and Grasshopper” provides contrasts and comparisons. The most significant clarification is "The locust is a type of a grasshopper which is short horned. The grasshopper is not a type of a locust.” Visit the DifferenceBetween website for fuller explanations about these two very similar-looking insects.

What about grasshoppers and crickets? Loads of websites contrast these leggy bugs. Amateur Entomologists’ Society’s “Grasshoppers and Crickets (Order: Orthoptera)” has a good contrast list, example pictures, a distinguishing-features section, and subfamily information.

What about grasshoppers and katydids? Wannabe Entomologist’s “Grasshopper or Katydid?” has good explanations of these bugs’ features and a couple of eye-popping pics of someone handling each.

An entertaining website is “’The bug-investigation’ – Locust, grasshopper, cricket or katydid?”. The article is written as though investigating suspects in a crime. It has sections for pictures, ID cards, commonalities, clues, and conclusion.

Leggy Bugs articles:


Woody Lemcke said...

Thanks again Wanda! More very interesting info for better appreciation of our leggy insect friends.

whilldtkwriter said...

YW! Figured you could especially appreciate the mechanics of the jumping apparatus. Thx for the tip about Bug's Life and grasshoppers & ants. Think I'm done w/the Leggy Bugs theme. Can't think of any other bugs leggy enough to pique my curiosity to hunt down info. Next up will prolly be the cicada wasp we'd photographed a week ago or so--2" wingspan!

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