Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Acrididae

Photo credit: Wang Luan Keng
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum/Division:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Order:Orthoptera
Family:Acrididae

Description

This is a large family of insects in the order Orthoptera, comprising the grasshoppers. They have short antennaeand are sometimes referred to as Short-horned Grasshoppers. This family also includes locusts, which have both a solitary and gregarious phase. In the latter, thick, migratory swarms aggregate and can decimate fields of crops.

Males and females can be distinguished by the structure of the rear end (hind) of the abdomen. The hind of males is upturned while that of the females is not, possessing four ovipositors instead.

Grasshoppers are almost all herbivores. Most exhibit selectivity in the plants they eat and have host-plant associations, while a few are generalist feeders. Most species are diurnal while some are nocturnal.

The female lays 30 to 100 eggs in loose sandy soil by pushing her abdomen into the substrate. The eggs are enclosed in a tube-shaped pod. The opening at the top of the tube is sealed off by a froth secreted by the female. The froth dried and hardens upon contact with air. Sunlight and high temperatures appear to play an importantrole in the maturation of grasshoppers.

Male grasshoppers stridulate by rubbing the highlegs against the forewings to produce a buzzing or chirping sound for courtship. Sound is produced as a row of tiny pegs (locatedon the inner side of the hind femur) are repeatedly run over a hard ridge on the opposing surface. The number of these structures and the rate at which the legs are moved produce variations in pitch, giving each species its own characteristic song. Some female grasshoppers are able to stridulate, typically producing barely audible songs. They also have smaller pegs. Stridulation is completely absent in some species.

About 10,000 species of grasshoppers have been described in the world. More than 30 species have been recorded in Singapore.



Read more about the Orthoptera order.
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