Grasshoppers are among the most amazing creatures in the insect world. They travel for miles in a matter of hours and feed on plants. Most of us remember chasing grasshoppers across the yard as children and marveling at their strong legs and tremendous athletic ability. Have you ever wondered how many types of grasshoppers exist? It would take volumes to list them all here, so we’ve broken them down into the most common types, along with information about all of the known species as of 2022. Here is everything you need to know about all the types of grasshoppers to watch out for.
How many types of grasshoppers are there?
According to A to Z Animals, there are 11,000 known species of grasshoppers in the world today. They’re found everywhere in the world, except Antarctica, because there is no food for them to survive. Grasshoppers are one of the oldest insects on earth, believed to exist during the Triassic period, about 250 million years ago. They’re members of the Caelifera suborder with numerous families and species types. They can jump up to twenty times the length of their bodies and they eat 16 times their body weight in one feasting session. When grasshoppers swarm, they can obliterate miles of crops, creating problems for farmers and the people who depend on the foods they destroy. Most grasshopper species are not this destructive, but farmers dread swarms of locusts that eat every living plant in sight. Some of the exotic species of grasshoppers live in dense jungle regions where they thrive and multiply. The average litter size is four. They don’t multiply as quickly as some other insects, but there are plenty of grasshoppers to go around. You’re not likely to ever see every type of grasshopper identified, but there are about twenty that are most common to North America. Here is a description of the types of grasshoppers you’re most likely to see, and how to identify them.
1. Big Headed Grasshopper
Pets on Mom describes the Big-Headed Grasshopper as a species that lives in the Western part of North America. It is known for its big head and its habit of swarming. It’s one of the grasshopper types that swarm in large groups of up to twenty grasshoppers in a yard of space, eating all the grass in grazing country, depriving cattle of their grazing lands. They cause problems for free-range ranchers when they swarm. This grasshopper is yellow and brown with a short body, but it can cover a lot of ground quickly.
2. Clear Winged Grasshopper
The Clears Winged Grasshopper is another species that falls under the destructive pest category. They’re known for feeding on small grasses and grains and can be found on the west coast throughout the northeastern part of the United States. They’re small to medium-sized insects with bright light green bodies and clear wings that have a tan hue. A few of them are fun to see but a swarm can take out your garden fast.
3. Green-striped Grasshopper
The Green-striped Grasshopper is one that you’ll find all over the United States, Canada, and Central America. They’re fond of succulent plants but will eat almost anything green, but their preference is for succulents. They inhabit desert regions where succulents grow in nature, such as the Southwest. They’re known for their green stripes with some yellow on their bodies.
4. Brown Spotted Grasshopper
The Brown Spotted Grasshopper is easy to identify. It’s a common type that lives mostly in the United States in the midwestern states. Their bodies are covered with brown spots. Their main sources of food are grass and sedge. If there are large numbers, they can cause problems in the garden, but in moderate numbers, this species doesn’t usually cause much damage.
5. Packard Grasshopper
The Packard Grasshopper is found in the State of Texas, and in other regions that have desert prairies. It’s also known as the Melanoplus packardii. You can find them wherever there is grass. You’ll know them by their bright brown and yellow bodies and wings, with tan strips that start at the tops of their heads and extend to the wingtips. They’re known to decimate cereal crop fields, and they also like to eat flowers, leaves, and even the stems of plants.
6. Migratory Grasshopper
The Migratory Grasshopper is a member of the Melanoplus sanguinipes family. It is among the most destructive grasshoppers. Large swarms of these insects move through entire states destroying crops in their wake. They prefer to eat oats, corn, wheat, barley, clover, and vegetable, but they will also eat any fruit, vines, tree bark, and foliage. This type of grasshopper covers a lot of ground during the day, but they bed down and night and take a break until the sun comes up.
7. Red-Legged Grasshopper
The Red-Legged Grasshopper is a member of the family Melanoplus femurrubrum It is known for its yellowish-green abdomen with red, black, and olive green colors on its back. their legs have a red color that makes them easy to spot. This grasshopper grows to a size of one inch at maturity. They can fly for up to 40 feet. You’ll find them in places where the habitats are sunny, moist, and grassy. They’re commonly found in prairies, meadows, fields, and backyards. They prefer to eat alfalfa, grains, potatoes, beans, cabbage, corn, beets, and tobacco plants, which can be a problem for farmers when their numbers are high.
8. Two-Striped Grasshopper
The Two-Striped Grasshopper is also known as Melanoplus bivattus. You’ll know this insect by its two light yellow stripes that start at the eyes and extend to its wingtips. They prefer to live near the edges of streams and marshes where lush plants grow. They prefer to live in areas where they can eat the leaves of prairie sunflowers, dandelions, alfalfa, red clover, plantain, lettuce hickory, or ragweed. This is a grasshopper that grows fast and gains a lot of weight. They tend to have the highest survival rates among grasshoppers.
9. Meadow Grasshopper
Home Stratosphere explains the Meadow Grasshopper is a member of the Tettigoniidae family under the subfamily Conocephalinae. It’s a small grasshopper with a slender body that prefers to live near lakes, ponds, and streams. You can find them in pastures and meadows, or anywhere there is ample moisture and lush foliage. They prefer to eat tender foliage and underwater plants. They have a unique song during mating season with an “rrrr” sound. They are known for
10. Long-Horned Grasshopper
Long-Horned Grasshoppers are also referred to as bush crickets. They’re members of the Tettigoniidae family under the Orthoptera order. This grasshopper type is a member of 6,000 species of long-horned insects with slender antennae, and the ability to change colors to camouflage. They’re a noisy grasshopper in the evenings. They have hairy antennae that equal their body lengths. The female has a different wing shape than the male, and the males are the noisy ones that rub their wings together to create a stir. You’ll know it’s mating season by the sound they make at night.
11. Lubber Grasshopper
Lubber Grasshoppers are found in the southeastern part of the United States. It’s one of the most common grasshoppers that is easily identified by its large size and beautifully colored bodies. They’re predominant in Florida and known for destroying entire crops of vegetables. Lubbers come by their names honestly. They’re clumsy insects, unlike most other grasshoppers. They prefer to crawl instead of walking or flying. They’re also called Buffalo Grasshoppers in the western regions, where the size is smaller and the wings are pink.
12. Spur-throated Grasshopper
The Spur-throated Grasshopper is one of the most popular species in North America. They come in an assortment of colors such as yellow, orange, red, green, and brown. Some types of Spur-throated grasshoppers have small spots over their bodies. While most grasshoppers have litters of four, this variety lays up to twenty eggs in the soil. they’re found most commonly in the southern part of the US, where numbers are highest, but they’re found in southern parts of Canada as well. It’s a destructive species that is known to decimate entire crops.
13. Short Horned Grasshoppers
Short-horned Grasshoppers get categorized in the Acrididae family under the Orthoptera order. They get their name for their heavy short antenna that resembles short horns. These grasshoppers are herbivores with big appetites. They range in size from 5 mm to 11 cm with green to straw-colored bodies. Some have long bodies. Some are short. They’re experts at camouflage and can hide from predators. They’re known for their long hind legs that help them jump many feet. Some have wings and others are wingless. The females can lay up to 010 eggs.
The name “Locust” inspires fear and dread in the hearts of farmers. This grasshopper lives all over the world, except for Antarctica. Locusts are in the family Acrididae and the order Orthoptera. They’re born as wingless nymphs that grow into large, winged grasshoppers at maturity. These insects are solitary until some phenomenon causes them to gather together in large swarms. Scientists have not discovered the mechanism that triggers the instinct to swarm in feeding frenzies that causes them to band together in large groups, obliterating every living plant in their paths. They can cover miles of crops, leaving no vegetation behind.
15. Slant-faced Grasshoppers
Slant-faced Grasshoppers are from the Aridinae subfamily. They’re known for their uniquely slanted faces and back wings. They prefer to live in areas where they can eat grasses. There are many species within the family. Each bears unique differences in appearance and food preferences. Slant-faced grasshoppers also like to hang out around marshes and wet meadows. The numbers are usually small. This grasshopper is not a threat to farmers or gardeners. The slant-faced grasshopper is one of the least destructive types of grasshopper.
16. Band-winged Grasshoppers
Band-winged Grasshoppers are members of the Oedipodinae family. They are known for their colorful back wings with bands and hues of black, yellow, and red. They have short horns and produce a crackling sound when in flight. They blend into their surroundings by covering their hind wings with the front wings to disguise the bright colors. When their colors are displayed, they can be mistaken for butterflies at first glance. Band-winged grasshoppers are the most beautiful. You can find them living in the southern states. This grasshopper is related to the clear-winged species. The Carolina Grasshopper is in a band-winged grasshopper family. You can recognize it by its black hind wings.
17. Cone-head Grasshoppers
Cone-head Grasshoppers get their names from their long heads. They can be identified by the specific song consisting of just one note, repeated. They’re in the classification N. robustus, and they can create a loud buzzing sound with their wings that sound like a loud drone. Conehead grasshoppers are more common in central Europe and in the southern parts, where the weather is warmer.
18. Pygmy Grasshoppers
Pygmy Grasshoppers are also called grouse locusts. This type of grasshopper is small and comes in gray, green, and brown colors. Some have tiny wings, and others are wingless. They do not have hearing or sound-producing organs. They’re the quiet grasshoppers that you will find near muddy shores or in grassy fields.
19. Spotted Bird Grasshopper
Green Nature explains the Spotted Bird Grasshopper is one of the more prolific insects in North America. You can identify this type by its dorsal stripe. The Obscure Bird Grasshopper can grow up to three inches long. It has a green body and brown wings that make it recognizable. It’s a member of the locust family. This grasshopper occasionally groups together for a swarming feeding frenzy.
20. Desert Locust
The Desert Locust is also known as Schistoccera gregaria, which means it is prone to swarming and traveling for long distances. The Desert Locust lives all over the world. You can find them in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and the United States. It’s the most destructive locust known. They’re known to form groups of a billion members and travel through countrysides, leaving no living plants in their wake.