Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum


Photo credit: Wang Luan Keng


An order of insects comprising grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids. Orthoptera means 'straight wings' in Latin, referring to the forewings (tegmina) which are thickened and end in a hardened or leathery base. In flight, the forewings spread out horizontally and aid in flight control. At rest, both pairs of wings overlap and cover the abdomen like a roof. The membranous hindwings, folded like a fan, are protected by the tougher forewings which typically have colours or patterns that aid in camouflage.

Orthopterans have powerful mandibles which are used for biting and chewing. All orthopterans have enlarged hinglegs which are modified for making powerful jumps.

Many orthopterans, generally males, produce sounds (known as stridulations) by rubbing their legs, wings or abdomen together. Each species has a unique calling song or stridulation used by the male to attract females. Most katydids and crickets possess special structures (a stridulatory apparatus or files) at the bases of the forewings which, when rubbed against each other, generate the stridulations. Grasshoppers move the bumps on their hindlegs against their forewings to produce sounds. Tympanic organs, which allow the insects to hear, are located on the abdomen (for short-horned grasshoppers) or on the tibia of the front legs (for long-horned grasshoppers),.

Orthopterans undergo an incomplete metamorphosis, in which juveniles (nymphs) resemble smaller versions of the adult. The eggs are typically laid in the ground or on vegetation.

Most orthopterans are herbivorous but a few are known to include insects in their diet. All parts of the plantare eaten. Tree-dwelling species also eat lichens and mosses.

Thereare approximately 20,000 species described in the world. There are over 200 species from 12 famlies recorded in Singapore.

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