Insects

Grasshoppers And Crickets

I miss the chirping sound of crickets as you fall asleep at night, now that summer is firmly behind us. In my quest to photograph all wildlife that crosses my path, I have found that not only do we have both crickets and grasshoppers at the cottage, but we also have various species of them too.

The main difference between a grasshopper and a cricket is their antennae. Crickets have long antennae and grasshoppers have short antennae. They also produce their chirping sounds differently and at different times. Crickets rub their wings together and sing at night and grasshoppers rub their hind legs with their wings and call during the daylight.

Grasshoppers are larger than crickets and often have more vivid green colour to blend well in grassy habitats. Grasshoppers can jump and fly, where as crickets can only jump. Apparently a group of grasshoppers is called a cloud, but if they form swarms they are then known as locusts.

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It would seem that this Dissosteria Carolina Grasshopper doesn’t obey the rule of being more vivid in colour, but it does blend in with the dry grassy habitat. It looks a little like a butterfly in flight, with black wings and a yellow band on the edge.

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I love the little frill over its front legs.

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I thought this was a type of Short-wing Grasshopper. It certainly has short wings, but it turns out to be a Keeler’s Spur-throat Grasshopper nymph – Melanoplus keeleri.

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I love its markings.

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I think this one is an adult, with the wings fully developed. I took this picture 9 days after the photograph of the nymph, but I have no idea about the rate at which they develop and if this could be the same one.

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This looks like a Pine Tree Spur-throat Grasshopper.

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This is a female Melanoplus Grasshopper, which is also a Spur-throat Grasshopper.

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But there are so many different Spur-throated Grasshoppers and I am finding it really hard to tell them apart.

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After a while I give up trying to figure it out and they are just “Grasshoppers”.

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They are fascinating to see up close.

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Especially when they are climbing and clinging to plants.

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This is a cricket, because it has much larger antennae. It is also female. The ovipositor (the tube that protrudes from the end of her abdomen) is what she uses for laying her eggs deep in the soil. Both males and females have additional short prongs on each side of the abdomen. I think this one is Allonemobius fasciatus or Striped Ground Cricket.

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I think this one is a Gryllus pennsylvanicus or Fall Field Cricket. It scuttled under rocks before I got a good photo.

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This cricket was much smaller and I am not sure what type it is. Yet again I am reminded that there is a whole world out there that I know so little about. There is such a range in appearance that a casual observer like myself is lost in the amount of information I need to study, if I am seriously going to figure out who is who. I like to try, but it seems so much harder when it comes to insects than it is with mammals and birds. Maybe it is just that I am less familiar with insects and I haven’t really paid them much attention until recently. They are also very small and getting a good clear view of them isn’t always possible and there are such large numbers of variations too. I certainly have a new admiration for entomologists and must thank those at bugguide.net for their help in identifying some of these.

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