Differential Grasshopper

Melanoplus differentialis

Drees

The Differential Grasshopper is one of many common grasshopper species in our area.

This hopper grows up to 1 3/4 inches long.

It is a shiny brownish-yellow with yellow or red antennae. The hind legs are yellow with black chevrons (v-shapes).

Differential Grasshoppers live in fields, open woods, and edges of ponds, streams, and lakes.

Mark O'Brien, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

Like most grasshoppers, Differential Grasshoppers eat many different types of plants, including: grasses, weeds, crops, clover, and fruits.

These grasshoppers do not migrate in the Winter like some other species do.

Differential Grasshoppers breed in late Summer and early Fall. Females press long egg masses (1 inch long) down into the soil near some weeds. A female grasshopper may lay up to eight egg masses, with about 25 eggs in each.

Eggs hatch the following Spring. Baby grasshoppers do not look like adults, and they are called nymphs. Nymphs will eat and grow, shedding their skins as they get older. Each time a hopper sheds its skin (molts), it will look a little more like an adult. After six molts, the nymph will finally be an adult grasshopper.

It takes a month and a half to two months for a nymph to develop into an adult.

Grasshoppers have many predators, including birds, frogs, lizards, turtles, Raccoons, yellow jackets, fish, shrews, chipmunks, squirrels, Red Fox, snakes, spiders, centipedes, dragonflies, ants, crickets, beetles, mantids, toads, bats, and opossums.

Differential Grasshoppers can fly short distances.

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Grasshopper Anatomy Diagram
Link to Printable Page
EnchantedLearning.com
Grasshopper's Head Under a Microscope
Link to Image
Uglybug.org

Relationships in Nature:

FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Switchgrass

Chinese Mantid

Switchgrass

Smooth Crabgrass

American Toad

Smooth Crabgrass

Common Reed

Great Crested Flycatcher

Common Reed

Red Clover

Wild Turkey

Red Clover

Queen Anne's Lace

Northern Ringneck Snake

Queen Anne's Lace

English Plantain

Five-lined Skink

English Plantain

Common Dandelion

Garden Centipede

Common Dandelion

Black-eyed Susan

Largemouth Bass

Chicory

Bushy Aster

Raccoon

Bushy Aster

Common Mullein

Big Brown Bat

Virginia Opossum

Eastern Yellow Jacket

Eastern Box Turtle

Least Shrew

Red Fox

Green Darner

Field Cricket

Black Carpenter Ant

Rabid Wolf Spider

Bald-faced Hornet

Relationship to Humans:

Grasshoppers in low numbers are not a problem to people; in fact, they help control weeds and other plants. However, when they are many grasshoppers together, they become pests. Many farmers spray insecticides to keep grasshoppers from ruining their crops.

Grasshoppers are also used as bait by fishermen and attract wildlife as a food source.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Arthropod
CLASS
Insect
ORDER
Orthoptera
FAMILY
Acrididae
GENUS
Melanoplus
SPECIES
Melanoplus differentialis

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