Green Bird Grasshopper

Growing big and strong on rosemary

I was looking at my rosemary plant and gradually realized that this gal was looking back at me. The four inch long grasshopper nymph chomped methodically on my plant, neatly consuming one shoot after another. Her green coloring so closely matched the rosemary that I could easily have passed on by without noticing, and that would have been a shame! Note there are no wings yet, so she is still just a nymph. In her adult stage she will be one of the largest and strongest flying grasshoppers in the Southwest.
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?

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6 responses to “Green Bird Grasshopper

  1. I love how you write about all these wonderful creatures and things of Nature. I will consider grasshoppers my friends and hopefully I won’t jump every time one flies up across my path! Your story reminds me that as I was cleaning cilantro from my garden I came across a very tiny bright green caterpillar. It wasn’t an inchworm…more like a centimeter worm! I wasn’t as nice to it as you were to they nymph. No elaboration necessary!!

  2. I love your willingness to share with the other creatures. I wish I could adopt that philosophy with the ground squirrels and rabbits that beat me to everything edible in my yard including my missing garden….I’ll work on my attitude as they destroy the pepper plants and everything else…OOOOOOOHHHHHMMMMMMMM!

    • You might need to read Turquoise Ledge. Leslie Silko Marmon. She is down in Tucson embracing the rattlesnakes that eat the pack rats that eat her wiring and alot of other things.

  3. Yuk, never eat the green one’s. They taste really bad.
    Former army survival training instructor. Grinning

  4. She is a beauty, i’m going to look closer at my plants. TY

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