Wednesday, December 2, 2009
This beautiful grasshopper is the Admirable Grasshopper (Syrbula admirabilis) in some parts of their range they are referred to as Handsome Locust or Handsome Grasshopper and I must say all of these names are very apt descriptions for this very pretty insect. They can be found throughout the Central and Eastern United States and portions of Arizona. The one pictured here is a female, they are green or green-brown. Males have much more black on them and are smaller. I could not find much information on their breeding cycle. Typically insects in the order Orthoptera will sing out to attract mates. Each species having a distinct song. They most likely mate in the summer months once they've reached adult size. Once the female has mated she will lay eggs, that will overwinter in the ground until the following spring. The little grasshopper nymphs will look very much like their parents, minus wings. Look for them in grassy/ weedy areas. The one pictured here was photographed at Happy Holler Lake Conservation Area, in some tall grasses on the lake dam. The males can fly really well, whereas the females have a much weaker flight and tend to hop to escape. I chased this one for a few yards before she finally settled down and seemed to realize I only wanted a photograph and had no intention of dining on her. Both as adults and nymphs they feed on a wide variety of grasses and seeds. I could find no reports that indicated they caused any significant damage, although I imagine any of these little munchers have the capability in large numbers to do a lot of damage to grasses, or crops.
I am constantly amazed at the diversity of insects that I am presented with on my explorations. I find myself spending hours each evening during the warm months photographing and watching all manner of insects. No matter how much time I spend outside, or how may hours I devote to this hobby I constantly find something new and I am never bored. Documenting species of any creature is a worthwhile way to spend your time, and allows you to learn so much about the natural world.