Common Name: Short-Horned Grasshopper
Order Name: Orthoptera
Family Name: Acrididea
Melanoplus is an extensive genus of Short Horned Grasshopper. Several species can become serious pests to grass crops as vapidly increasing populations of nymphs and adults will eat vast quantities of plants. This mating pair was contributing to the already healthy population of hoppers found along the roadside in the Central Valley of California. These hoppers have tympana (ears) on each side of the first abdominal segment. Eggs are laid in the soil with the female’s short ovipositor and usually over winter to hatch as nymph the following year.
This young grasshopper lacks the fully developed wings of an adult.
They have visible tympanic membranes for hearing located on the side of their abdomen. Their greatly enlarged hind legs allow grasshoppers to perform respectable and rapid leaps away from danger while many of them employ camouflage tactics as their primary line of defense. Other members of the orthoptera order such as crickets and katydids are well know for their musical talents.