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Life Cycle of a Grasshopper

The life cycle of grasshoppers encompasses three major stages - the eggs, the nymphs, and the adults. Read on to know more...
Grasshoppers, also known as short-horned grasshoppers, are insects, belonging to the order Orthoptera and suborder Caelifera. They are brown or green in color, with dark spots on their body. There are approximately 11,000 species of grasshoppers. All of them are herbivores and generally feed on plants. Some species of grasshoppers eat only grass. While these insects are seen abundantly in autumn, they are also spotted in spring and summer seasons.

Description and Population

Grasshoppers are flying insects that possess two pairs of wings, the fore and the hind wings. The fore wings are narrow and leathery, whereas the hind wings are larger and membranous. Other notable characters of grasshoppers include strong, big hind legs (used for jumping), and short antennae (20 - 24 segments, less than body length). Usually, female grasshoppers are larger in size than the males. Another feature of the females is the presence of two pairs of triangular structures (valves) at the end of the abdomen, which they use for digging the sand during egg laying. In case of male grasshoppers, there is a single unpaired plate.

As far as the economical importance of grasshoppers is concerned, they are considered as destructive pests by farmers. Infestation by these insects is influenced greatly by the prevailing climatic conditions. The population of grasshopper is expected to be highest in areas where the weather is cool in early spring succeeded by warm and dry condition in late spring. In addition, for uninterrupted growth of the young ones, the summer temperature should be high and there should be sufficient rainfall. On the contrary, hot spring season and low temperature in summer lead to population decline of grasshoppers.

Life Cycle: Detailed Info

In general, reproduction takes place in early summer. At the time of mating, the male grasshopper deposits the spermatophore that contains sperms, into the ovipositor of the female located at the abdomen. The ovipositor or egg placer (an organ used for laying of eggs) is relatively short but stronger as compared to other insects of the same group. As the sperms reach the eggs via the micropyle, fertilization of the eggs occurs. Following are the three successive stages of the grasshopper life cycle.

Egg: The life cycle of grasshoppers starts with the egg stage. By mid-summer, the female grasshopper lays the fertilized eggs either underneath the sand (about 1 - 2 inch depth) or among leaf litters. Immediately after depositing eggs with the help of ovipositor, a sticky substance is sprayed over them which hardens to form egg pods. There are usually more than ten egg pods, each of which contains about 10 - 300 rice shaped eggs. The eggs remain dormant in autumn and winter, i.e., for almost ten months. By spring or early summer when the temperature is warm, the eggs hatch into nymphs.

Nymph: Immediately after hatching, the young nymphs (first instar nymphs) start feeding on soft and succulent plant foliage. Nymphs are miniature versions of adult grasshoppers, except that they are light in color and do not possess wings. Nymphs undergo 5 - 6 molts and change their form and structure, before becoming adults. The nymphal stage may last for a period of 5 - 10 days, based on the species and the weather condition, especially temperature and humidity. As the nymphs molt, their size increases and wing pads progressively develop on the thorax portion of the body.

Adult: After 25 - 30 days, the wings are developed completely and the nymphs mature into adults. Thus, by the time, an egg matures into an adult, the grasshopper is about eleven months old. The adults gain sexual maturity within 15 days, and survive for a span of about 30 days. As adults possess wings, they are more mobile than the nymphs, which benefit them in hunting food and protecting from the predators. However, it is observed that every stage of the grasshopper has some predators.

The life span of grasshoppers is about 12 months. Studies have found out that the survival rate of nymphs after hatching is about 50 percent, as chances are high that they may be eaten by natural enemies like birds, rodents, and lizards. This way, grasshoppers play a major role in the effective functioning of an ecosystem, by providing food for many predators in the food chain. A swarm, also known as locusts, might cause severe damages to the crops, affecting the crop yield.
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Last Updated: December 9, 2011
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what is the name of its larva - Ruth [March 28, 2014]
it help on my work - mingzhi [February 20, 2014]
Also Ashley if you're disgusted by the way Grasshoppers hop maybe think of them as cute little animals? That's what I do anyway - Anthea [January 9, 2014]
Thanks to whoever made this page! Now I can do my research for my school project! B.T.W anyone know where to get good grasshopper pics?;] - Anthea [January 9, 2014]
I would like to keep grasshoppers as pets...anybody, Kendra?..I would really appreciate it! - Emmanuel [November 22, 2013]
I never knew it's possible to keep grasshoppers as pets! anyone want to help on the specifics...? - Emmanuel [November 22, 2013]
you did not say the size - alfred [October 28, 2013]
what is the metamorphosis? - naomi [April 1, 2013]
and also they do have images on grasshoppers to - andrecia [January 9, 2013]
Others said that there is a unique name given to the substance secreted on the egg by the adult female after it lays it. The question is, what could the name be? - Godfred [November 23, 2012]
well i wish there was also a story about the grasshopper thing and a game about grasshopper ty thats all - 1211122j1n2jnjf [September 23, 2012]
nice but more details - Agbontean Nosa [May 23, 2012]
nice but more detailed - Cool Man [March 4, 2012]
i like to eat grasshopper! that how to survive in camps. - Hayabusa [February 23, 2012]
nice now i understand all about a grasshopper thx ^_^ - Hayabusa [February 23, 2012]
oh yeah - jon thompson [December 19, 2011]
LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT THEIR ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE. - JOSHUA AWAYEVOO [November 7, 2011]
Wow very intresting Ningthoujam Sandhyarani ... :P - Aarahi [October 19, 2011]
they don't have images of a life cycle of a grasshopper - Julia m [October 13, 2011]
Grasshopers are VERY interesting. All the sudden this summer I just fell in love with grasshoppers. My favorite grasshopper was Little buddy. I got him in June. He lived about 2 weeks and a half. I think he was a green grasshopper but I'm not sure. I didn't know much about grasshoppers back then. - Kendra Fowler [September 15, 2011]
Hey! I keep grasshoppers as pets! The longest I ever had a grashopper in a cage was about a month! His name was Trouble maker. He died a few weeks ago. I miss Trouble maker. - Kendra Fowler [September 15, 2011]
Eating grasshoppers is so NOT cool! - Kendra Fowler [September 15, 2011]
You guys are awsome! Thanks again for the grasshopper facts. - Kendra Fowler [September 15, 2011]
I LOVE grasshoppers! Their so so cool! - Kendra Fowler [September 15, 2011]
Neat! Thanks for the answers. I didn't know that the females had two pairs trianglular valves . Cool! - Kendra Fowler [September 15, 2011]
I would like to know more about the Cigarra in the Atlantic Forest north of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, if anyone can assist me please. Those I saw looked like grubs, about the size of an adult's thumb. It's respected by the people of the area for its "song" which one can hear from sunset to sunrise! - Mary Coleman [August 17, 2011]
wow thats correct true - daven [July 26, 2011]
i think that the grasshopper is disgusting because they hop but they are the most best life cycle cause they have only small parts of the life cycle. - ASHLEY [May 17, 2011]
It was awsome for school we are learning about lifecycles in class. - Gianna [April 20, 2011]
love it - rocky and cece [April 14, 2011]
that's so cool 2 learn about bugs, and now i no that u can eat certain bugs because there healthy. - tiffany [April 14, 2011]
i won't to learn how grasshoppers reprouduce i am a grade 4 at school - sohaib [March 22, 2011]
perfect details of a life cycle of a grasshopper*** - suad [March 11, 2011]
thats cool that yall got punked - naynaa [February 23, 2011]
cool - schoolgirl [February 21, 2011]
I love learning intresting things like this. - A girl [February 9, 2011]
I think the life cycle of a grasshopper is just like the cycle of the ant, the cycle is simple yet intresting at the same time. - Alexandra [February 9, 2011]
I hope there will be images with colors - Nickelvack12345 [December 1, 2010]
i think you should write a shorter paragragh on grasshoppers :P - Natalia [November 5, 2010]
i did not know that - no name [October 13, 2010]
grasshoppers are so interesting.! - Tiara [September 23, 2010]
i think people should the way they are born then an arrow then... - sarah [August 1, 2010]
let me see the life cycle and tell me something aBOUT THE LIFE CYCLE - HENGJIAN [July 13, 2010]
u have given alot of information, that we know. But, can u tell us, how long do they live? from baby to d last DAY? - Moncho [June 11, 2010]
I have by me a grasshopper with one hind leg only! it was here last year, and its back this year? i din't put any markins on it, BUT, can another one has come to take, last years place? COINCIDENT?! It's the one that's big,with many colors. I concider them my friends, and good luck charms. - Moncho [June 11, 2010]
That was totally wicked and it was awesome like I have seen a monster - Jordon Soh [June 10, 2010]
do the mommy grasshopper stay whit the baby graashopper? - youtube [June 9, 2010]
i LOVE GRASSHOPPERS - CINCWY [April 29, 2010]
The article is not very clear in a couple of the numbers. It says the nymphal stage may last for a period of 5-10 days. But then it says that it takes 25-30 days for the nymphs to mature completely into adults. My son was doing research, and this was confusing. Could you articulate this a little better as to what those numbers are referring to? - a dad [March 21, 2010]
you have not shown the diagramatic stages why? - AKORA [February 6, 2010]
no good i want to know how long do they live - cassia loh [January 7, 2010]
what is the summary? - kimberly chua [November 30, 2009]
Cool =) - Lora [October 20, 2009]
I like this article LOL - Rosa Contreras [October 19, 2009]
it so very very beauty ful - hyrah joi [September 15, 2009]
hyrah - hyrahn joi a [September 15, 2009]
Thanks so much this really helps but please add a pic. next time thanks!THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU - Andrea cutiey [September 7, 2009]
cool - years 50 [April 17, 2009]