Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grasshopper season

This monster was laying eggs (it seemed to be, anyway) in the middle of a sand road in Ocean Co., NJ, yesterday. I think it is Pardalophora phoenicoptera, the orange-winged grasshopper.

Grasshoppers have recently become more noticeable in the grasslands of south Jersey. I never thought of them as a seasonal animal before, but I guess most insects have their seasonality just like plants do. And insect timing, I suppose, often coincides with plant timing.

Adding to my theory that "grasshopper season" is upon us is this: I have found plenty of shed skins from aquatic insects before (exuviae, technically speaking), but yesterday was the first time I've found a shed grasshopper skin...completely intact too! If I remember correctly from the time I raised crickets (for an insect class), they usually eat the skin after they shed it. The one that molted the skin shown was still a juvenile at the time, identified by the still-short wings. I think the strings and stuff visible in the photo may be the linings of air tubes and other "internal" organs, the skin of which also gets molted.

Shed grasshopper skin. Taken yesterday in Lakehurst, Ocean Co., NJ.

Here is the large grasshopper from two more angles. Even his eyes look sandy...

No comments:

Post a Comment