Thursday, September 25, 2014

Two-striped grasshopper

There are about 18,000 species of grasshoppers in the world. All of them are long, slender insects known for their strong mandibles, or jaws, which are adapted for chewing. Grasshoppers have two pairs of wings. The front pair is rigid, while the hind pair is larger, softer and often brightly coloured. These wings help some species fly very well, yet others fly poorly or not at all. It also has three pairs of legs, all of which are used for walking. The back pair is more muscular and used for jumping.

The two-striped grasshopper (Melanoplus bivittatus) occurs widely in North America. This grasshopper is normally living in thick low vegetation during summer and fall. Unfortunately, it is also known for an insatiable appetite.

This species and some of its close relatives are major crop pests causing much damage to small grains, alfalfa, and corn. During outbreaks, they may completely destroy crops. Scientists have calculated that just 10 adults per square meter in a corn field are able to eat all the leaves off the crop.

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