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Last Updated: Oct 1, 2008 - 11:17:06 AM 

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Saturation Point

Long-Horned Grasshopper
By Karey Burek
Oct 2, 2008 - 11:15:30 AM

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Grasshoppers normally stay quite out of sight from human eyes, mostly because they have very effective camouflage techniques.  Namely, they look like leaves. This is why I was so surprised to come across a long-horned grasshopper plainly trying to blend into a white wall. This little creature stuck out like a sore thumb; bright green against stark white. I grabbed my camera and started snapping away, examining this insect as much as he was examining me.
long-horned grasshopper

The particular camouflage that this type of grasshopper uses can be seen all over its body.  The green and vein-like pattern on the wings makes it particularly easy to blend into any greenery and plantings, staying out of sight from predators and prey.  According to grasshoppers are plant-eating insects and are actually related to crickets, locusts and katydids. Long horned grasshoppers have their ears in their knees! This differentiates them from other grasshoppers that have their ears on the side of their body. Not only do the long horned grasshoppers hear out of their knees, they have super strong legs allowing them to jump extraordinary distances. Some grasshoppers have been recorded jumping distances of more than 3 meters. That is a long distance for a little guy that is less than 10 inches long.
Grasshoppers and crickets actually sing by rubbing their hind legs across the closed forewings, creating the chirping sound that we are so familiar with. The singing has a formal name; it is called stridulation. There is a reason that these species of insects are louder in the summer—the warmer the weather, the louder they chirp.  A really cool fact is if you were to count the number of chirps a particular cricket makes in 15 seconds and then add 40, you get the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit!  The next time I find a cricket, I am going to try out this theory.  Another fun fact according to is that a frightened lubber grasshopper species oozes a yucky smelling froth from its mouth in order to potentially scare away their predators. If they smell bad, then they must taste bad—saving their lives with stink!

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