The grasshopper is grouped with crickets and katydids in the order Orthoptera. The hoppers fall into the family Acrididae and can be identified by antennae that are shorter than their bodies. They are cousins with the dreaded migratory locusts that can lay waste to an entire crop, but this is a more sedentary, solitary species called Schistocerca shoshone or green bird grasshopper. Isn’t she gorgeous? I am calling her a female because they are larger than the males, and I just can’t believe there is an even bigger green grasshopper nymph lurking in my garden.
Just as a reminder, insects have no backbone. They have an outer supporting structure called an exoskeleton. That high school biology coming back now? An insect will always have three distinct body regions, the head, thorax and abdomen, easy to identify in this picture. And notice three pairs of legs attached to her thorax.
This green bird grasshopper prefers herbaceous plants to grasses, and may be pretty particular as to what plant she eats. (As opposed to locusts which will eat many plants.)
And speaking of eating, grasshoppers are a source of protein for humans in many parts of the world, including Mexico, China, the Middle East and Africa. Green bird would be quite a crunchy mouthful, don’t you think?