Grasshoppers

(Order: Orthoptera)




Common Green Grasshopper (male) (Omocestus viridulus) (Beside Mearns Road, South West Glasgow)

Anyway, I'd been waiting three years to find a grasshopper and then I thought I had found three different species in the one day, but it turns out that the first three grasshoppers on this page all seem to be common green grasshoppers: males, females and nymphs. I also thought that if I ever did find one, it would hop away quickly and I'd never get a half decent photgraph of it. As it turned out, all these grasshoppers sat very nicely while I cleared grasses out of the way to get a clear view. It seems these grasshoppers come in a variety of colours. The males, as here, can be a light brown colour, whereas the females, as below, always have a green head, pronotum and upper body.  You can hear this grasshopper singing in the video above.






Common Green Grasshopper (female) (Omocestus viridulus) (Beside Mearns Road, South West Glasgow)

As metioned above, the female of this species always has a green head, wings and upper body. The wing tips are, however, often darkened as you can see in the photo on the left in particular. There seems to be some debate as to whether there are any crickets in Scotland. I had understood that there were no crickets in Scotland, only grasshoppers, but it seems there may have been some sightings of crickets in the very south of Scotland. As a general rule of thumb, crickets have very long antennae, whereas grasshoppers have short, stout antennae.







Common Green Grasshopper (nymphs) (Omocestus viridulus) (Beside Mearns Road, South West Glasgow)

I think these are common green grasshopper nymphs as their wings do not appear to be fully developed. The poor wee nymph on the left also appears to have lost one of its back legs. Accordingly to Wikipedia (so I'm not sure if it is true or not), grasshoppers are filled with a body fluid called haemolymph and because it does not carry oxygen, it lacks the red or blue oxygen carrying pigments and so grasshopper 'blood' is green. On the basis that I certainly don't intend to find out for myself, I'll have to take their word for it.








Meadow Grasshopper (male) (Chorthippus parallelus) (Knowetops Nature Reserve, Dumfries & Galloway)

A beautiful grasshopper that was well camouflaged among the tall grasses. The males can be distinguished from the females by the upturned 'tail'. This species has very short wings and can't fly, but boy can it jump! These things are fabulous to watch as they appear to defy gravity as they spring impossibly high into the air. Whilst this grasshopper is a mixture of green and brown, I understand they can be completely green or completely brown and in fact, females can be pinkish. Unfortunately, I didn't hear its song, but it has been described as sounding like a sewing machine.









video

I can't contain my excitement at getting this video of a common green grasshopper 'singing'. I don't think David Attenborough and his team will feel too threatened, but I don't think it's bad for a first attempt. I knew Grasshoppers 'sing' by rubbing their powerful enlarged hind legs against their forewings, but I didn't realise you could actually see it happening! The grasshopper does appear after a while, so please hang in there. This is the first video I've managed to put on my blogspot and unfortunately it has become a bit pixelated in the process. Still, you'll get the idea. I really love watching this - it reminds me of summers abroad. Each species of grasshopper has its own song - common green grasshoppers have a loud ticking sound which typically lasts between 10 and 20 seconds. It's meant to get louder in the middle, but I can't hear that here. You can, however, hear another grasshopper in the background continuing to 'sing' even after this one has finished.