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Animal of the Month at CG Kids!!!


for young students

I can tell you more.

To see a hidden message, put the mouse arrow on me without clicking.

Animal of the Month at CG Kids!!!

All images and text copyright:
© D.L. Johnson, Lethbridge.
Posted for educational use, K-4, 5-7, YMCA, Nature Centres, and others. Permission will be granted for educational use.


Part 1. Grasshoppers that you can find in the spring

The club-horned grasshopper is tan or grey.

It has knobs on the end of each antenna. It sings by rubbing the back legs against the forewings.

Grasshoppers have two pairs wings. The two front ones are hard covers for the hindwings that are used to fly.

Some like it hot, but cold is ok with me. move the mouse arrow on me, and you computere might be able to find a hidden message.


The velvet-striped grasshopper is small and has a pointed head. It has two small, dark stripes.

It is called velvet-striped because the stripes and surface look soft and fuzzy.

The tip of my head has 3 small ridges.



The brown-spotted range grasshopper is often the first grasshopper found in the spring. It has small triangles on the back and on the back legs.

Songbirds catch these grasshoppers in the spring, to feed nestlings (baby birds).

The black and gray pattern makes it hard for birds to find it. The ones that escape the birds lay the eggs for next year, so over generations they become harder and harder to see.

Sometimes I am green.




The speckled rangeland grasshopper looks dark and speckled when it is sitting.

When it flies, it has red wings and makes a crackling sound. Here is one hind wing.

I can fly up and startle you.



Left: the speckled rangeland grasshopper (spring and summer).


We are ready to lay eggs.


Right: the red-winged grasshopper (summer and fall) can also look speckled

But we lay eggs in different seasons.



The northern green-striped grasshopper has a sharp ridge on the back. The part of the back shaped like a saddle is called the pronotum (pro no tum) because it is the front part (pro) of the top (notum) of the grasshopper's back.

When this grasshopper flies, you can see its yellow wings.

You can find this species early in the spring. In the fall, it is a tiny grey hopper without wings.

I can't decide on  green or brown.Me neither.






The red-shanked grasshopper is fat and bumpy. When it is young, it looks like a tiny toad.

I sleep in grass all winter.

When it is mature, it flies with yellow or red-orange wings. Its name comes from the red on the inside of the back legs.



Part 2. Grasshoppers that you might see in the summer

The two-striped grasshopper has two stripes on the back.

It is usually green.

When it is young it can be yellow, pink, green, or brown. There are many of these grasshoppers right across Canada.


Roadsides are great.Lately there are a lot of us.We eat crops.And we eat grass.We eat gardens, too.




Two-striped grasshoppers hatch from eggs that look like brown rice. When the hopper is one day old, it is even smaller than the date on a penny.

Warmth makes me hatch.But we need winter first.




This grasshopper is named after someone named Packard, so it is called Packard's grasshopper.

When it is young, it is green and looks like it has pepper on the back.

I look a bit like the Two-striped.



The lesser migratory grasshopper is grey and has a black stripe on the side of the head, making it look a bit like a racoon.


It can fly a long distance to migrate to new locations.

I make a good pet.Dry weather helps me.I fly best when it is warm.



Most grasshoppers are easy to recognize. The four-spotted grasshopper has four triangular spots on its short forewings.

Some of us have special diets.

The bunch-grass grasshopper looks like a stick insect, but it is a grasshopper. Some people call it the toothpick grasshopper. It does not fly.





Some grasshoppers change their appearance more than others do. When the clear-winged grasshopper is small, it is dark with a white stripe. Later, it is brown and yellow.

Rain is bad for me.Drought is great for me.I prefer grass, wheat and barley.We stick together.

It has a clear wing when it is grown and ready to fly, but so do many other grasshoppers.





The Carolina grasshopper is a light brown grasshopper that has a black and yellow wing when it flies. When the Carolina grasshopper lands on the ground, it folds the wings, and becomes hard to see.

I fly like a butterfly.There are over 20 thousand species of grasshoppers.

They look a little like locusts. Locusts are just special grasshoppers that can change and fly long distances. They live mainly in Africa or Asia. (A locust raised in a cage in my lab in Canada is shown at right.)



Grasshoppers and their relatives can be very small, even when full-grown. The pygmy grasshopper (upper left) and the camel cricket (upper right) are found where it is moist.

I'm small but persistent.

Dawson's grasshopper has short wings, but one in a million looks like this (lower left).

The greenish-white grasshopper (lower right) is found only near its sage food plant.

I'm hard to find, but worth it.




The four-spotted tree cricket sits in bushes and sings during the day and evening.

The four spots are on the base of the antenna.

I am good at hiding.




Katydids are grasshoppers with very long antennae. The broad-winged bush katydid looks like a leaf, and can use its wings to fly.

It can be found in Canada on the Prairies, but is rare. Its song is a soft click.

I look like a leaf.

If you live in the east, including Ontario, you can hear the coneheads singing loudly at night.







Meadow katydids can be heard singing in tall roadside grass, except where it is very dry.

When it is young, the meadow katydid has a small body and long antennae that make it look like a circus tight-rope walker.

I carry them well.




Some katydids and bush crickets do not fly. They use their wings to sing. The Mormon cricket has a loud, long song.

The pointed end is used by the female katydid to lay eggs. They do not sting, but they might give a soft bite.

We just walk or hop to travel.





The blue-legged grasshopper has bright blue on the inside of the back leg, and either red or yellow wings.

The three-banded grasshopper also has blue on the inside of the leg, but it is named for the the three dark bands.

We look cool.






Some grasshoppers have blue on the slim, lower hind legs, called the tibia. The one on the left is Packard's grasshopper.

The blue-legged grasshopper and the three-banded grasshopper have a bright blue portion on the inside of the large part of the hind leg, which is called the femur.

Look closely and learn my name.






Different kinds of grasshoppers live in different places.

If you visit a wet habitat, you might see the sedge grasshopper. This kind of sedge grasshopper has a red line. The yellow one is a male.

If you go to the mountains, you might find the huckleberry grasshopper, and the northern grasshopper.

Everything has a home.




Some grasshoppers do not eat crops or gardens. The russian thistle grasshopper eats weeds like kochia.

The russian thistle grasshopper is greyish green, with orange antennae.

I am a help.

As with most kinds of grasshoppers, the males are smaller than the females.


2 weeks old (I raised it in a cage.)




When grasshoppers are still growing, they have wing buds instead of wings.

The last time they molt, they extend their wings and let them dry before flying.

Molting is not fun.






Some flies grow inside grasshoppers and kill them. Beetles, spiders, mites and wasps attack grasshoppers. The Banded garden spider catches grasshoppers in a web, but it will not bite you.

Many things depend on me.


Many things in the food web eat grasshoppers. Birds eat millions of them.Grasshoppers may be killed by disease, and you might find them hanging on plants. This disease harms grasshoppers but will not harm you.




Did you know that grasshoppers have hard wrinkled skin to keep their wing coverings stiff?

The pattern also protects them by giving them camouflage. They even have camouflaged eyes. This grasshopper lives on rocks and sand.



Quiz: where does the four-spotted tree cricket get its name?

Here is a photography of its head, eye and base of the antenna.




Visit the site below for more on other insects.

Click an insect in the drawings shown at: BugGuide.Net



Early spring grasshopper identification guides:

Helen Schuler Coulee Centre spring grasshopper guide (with notes for Lethbridge)

Police Point Park spring grasshopper guide (with notes for Medicine Hat and Swift Current)


More to see:

A Grand Look at Grasshoppers (by Canadian Geographic)


Cages of all kinds help you to observe grasshoppers and other insects.


More information for students who want to study grasshoppers:

1) Click here for
Canadian Geographic Grasshopper Learning Fun

2) Ask your teacher.

3) Check the library.

4) Get a plastic container and bring some home to watch. Ziploc bags, the kind with breathing holes, are GREAT. Click here.

5) Make your own drawings.

Read, watch, and become a scientist.


If you are interested in spiders and scorpions, click the photograph. 

Click here to go to the more detailed version (more writing but fewer photographs)

The following general interest articles were prepared for naturalists, students and growers

These articles are intended for non-specialists. These short guides contain photographs and information on pests and non-pests. You can download the PDF files and make copies. When you quote from them, refer to the articles as shown in the titles below.

Johnson, D.L. 2001. Band-winged grasshoppers of the Canadian Prairies and Northern Great Plains. Arthropods of Canadian Grasslands 7: 5-12. Published by the Biological Survey of Canada, Ottawa. Download PDF.

Johnson, D.L. 2002. Spur-throated grasshoppers of the Canadian Prairies and Northern Great Plains. Arthropods of Canadian Grasslands 8: 16-25. Published by the Biological Survey of Canada, Ottawa. Download PDF.

Johnson, D.L. 2003. Slant-faced grasshoppers of the Canadian Prairies and Northern Great Plains. Arthropods of Canadian Grasslands 9: 5-16. Published by the Biological Survey of Canada, Ottawa. Download PDF. (or download reduced size PDF, suitable for screen-viewing)

Johnson, D.L. 2004. Long-horned grasshoppers, katydids and crickets of the Canadian Prairies and Northern Great Plains (available later).


More student news:

a summer course where we collected insects (held by University of Lethbridge Conference Services)

All images and text copyright
© D.L. Johnson, Lethbridge.

Produced to complement teaching of insect biodiversity.

Good hunting
The 9th International Conference of the Orthopterists' Society will be in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, on August 14-19, 2005.

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