Grasshoppers

Visit almost any weedy field, lawn, or dusty dirt road in the summertime, and you will encounter grasshoppers (locusts), familiar orthopterans that can be distinguished from katydids by their short antennae or horns (some people refer to katydids as “long-horned grasshoppers” and the locusts as “short-horned grasshoppers”). Grasshoppers are ubiquitous in sunny habitats across North America, although they are usually absent or uncommon in northern areas and in wet swamps and marshes. Few species inhabit shaded forest, and those that do are generally found in small clearings that receive direct sunlight. Most grasshoppers are well camouflaged with coats of brown or green, but there are some rather colorful species (such as the well-known Eastern Lubber Grasshopper of the southeastern states).

There are over 650 species of grasshoppers in North America, a huge number to be sure, and most of these are western in distribution. Unlike the noisy meadow katydids, the majority of grasshoppers do not stridulate. But there is one group, the slant-faced grasshoppers, that are known for their soft and muffled songs. Males of this group “fiddle their tunes” by rubbing pegs on the inner surface of their hind femurs against the edges of their forewings. Another group, the band-winged grasshoppers, make an entirely different kind of sound. Males, and sometimes females, make loud snapping or crackling sounds with their wings as they fly, especially during courtship flights. This unique mode of sound production is called “crepitation,” the snapping sounds apparently being produced when the membranes between veins are suddenly popped taut (band-wings also stridulate, but their songs are typically weak and subtle). Because most grasshoppers do not make sounds, and those that do are difficult to hear, we have decided to feature only three species in this guide, including a common slant-faced grasshopper that stridulates (Marsh Meadow Grasshopper) and two band-winged grasshoppers that crepitate (Carolina and Boll’s Grasshoppers).

 
 

Our Insect Musicians:

Introduction
Biology of Insect Song
Human Hearing & Insect Song
Beginner’s Guide to Song IDs
Advanced Guide to Song IDs
How to Find and Watch
Singing Insects as Pets
Relaxing Insect MP3s

Master List of Species
(with sounds)

Navigate to Species Pages:

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FAMILY DESCRIPTION

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Meadow Katydids (Tettigoniidae):
FAMILY DESCRIPTION
Saltmarsh Meadow Katydid
Short-winged Meadow Katydid
Slender Meadow Katydid
Woodland Meadow Katydid
Straight-lanced Meadow Katydid
Agile Meadow Katydid
Black-legged Meadow Katydid
Common Meadow Katydid
Gladiator Meadow Katydid
Handsome Meadow Katydid
Lesser Pine Meadow Katydid
Long-spurred Meadow Katydid
Red-headed Meadow Katydid
Coneheads (Copiphorinae):
FAMILY DESCRIPTION
Round-tipped Conehead
Nebraska Conehead
Robust Conehead
Slightly Musical Conehead
Sword-bearing Conehead
False Robust Conehead
True Katydids (Pseudophyllinae):
FAMILY DESCRIPTION
Common True Katydid
False Katydids (Phaneropterinae):
FAMILY DESCRIPTION
Clicker Round-winged Katydid
Common Virtuoso Katydid
Rattler Round-winged Katydid
Oblong-winged Katydid
Great Angle-wing
Lesser Angle-wing
Broad-winged Bush Katydid
Curved-tailed Bush Katydid
Fork-tailed Bush Katydid
Northern Bush Katydid
Texas Bush Katydid
Treetop Bush Katydid
Shield-backed Katydids (Tettigoniinae):
FAMILY DESCRIPTION
American Shieldback
Least Shieldback
Protean Shieldback
Robust Shieldback
Roesel’s Katydid

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