Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday

Okay, I call these locusts... because they're ugly. But they aren't the Plague Locust - which is even uglier, or maybe it's only when they're in bulk they're uglier - so it could be a grasshopper (but in my mind, grasshoppers are prettier than this thing). I know, I'm totally nuts.

The Australian Museum has lots of information. Here's some -
Grasshoppers, locusts, crickets and katydids belong to a group of insects known as orthopterans (meaning 'straight wings').

Grasshoppers and locusts have a row of pegs like a comb on their back legs. They scrape these pegs against the hard edges of the front wings to make sounds. Crickets and katydids produce sounds by rubbing their wings together. In order to hear these sounds, orthopterans have a tympanum (ear) on each front leg, just below the knee.

Locusts and short-horned grasshoppers belong in the other suborder, Caelifera, and have shorter and more robust antennae.

Locusts and grasshoppers (Suborder Caelifera, Family Acrididae) are very common insects. However, locusts behave differently depending on their numbers. When numbers are low they act as individuals, in the same way as grasshoppers. But when large numbers are present they behave as a group or swarm, causing plagues.

I did a grasshopper collection at uni and I only include pretty grasshoppers. It took many hours wandering aimlessly with my net to catch enough to make the collection - but I can't remember how many that was. All I remember were the hours to collect, then the yelling at me (by my Mum) when jars of grasshoppers filled the back fridge - because I hated using chloroform to kill them and thought freezing to death was more humane (go figure).

Okay, I need the critter to open his wing for good identification - see these photos are just no good. I should be collecting the critters!


  1. I always associated grasshoppers as nicer than locusts - the ugly ones. But Katydids and Crickets are my favourites.

    I remember when I used to help a Professor at uni do insect collections and we used cyanide to kill the insects. Trouble was, a few days of being in an enclosed room with containers of cyanide doesn't lend itself to good health! Chloroform seems a much better way to do it.

  2. I have a soft spot for Mole Crickets. I'd never seen or heard of them until Uni and I fell in love... no idea why!

    Cyanide...yes...not so good for your health! LOL

    Thanks, Anita Joy.

    Cate xo

  3. I used to put mice in the freezer when they got caught alive in mousetraps, thinking that was a nicer way to go than a block of wood over the head... you know, they'd just drift off to sleep.
    What? Your post was about grasshoppers!
    My favourites would be cicadas. I'd forgotten that sound - it was all through the South West bush here when we moved back in January. I don't hear it as much now, they must have finished their 'season'...

    Love Wildlife Wednesday
    Lily M

    1. Hi Lily,
      So glad you understand the freezer thing. I've used my freezer for mice, much to my aunt's horror - for some reason she thought they were novelty ice cubes!!!

      Oh, cicadas are great, hey. This summer I found some cicada shells in my backyard. I remember giving one to my Pop for his birthday, sure I'd given him an amazing gift! Not sure he was on the same wavelength as me :)

      Cate xo