Spur-Throated Grasshopper and Gray Bird Grasshopper

Clinging to the side of one of my large containers was a spur-throated grasshopper nymph! Also known as Melanoplus sp. (nymph), the yellow-orange color of this grasshopper is particularly striking. Notably, this grasshopper appears to be missing its hind left leg, or perhaps it’s well hidden under its body, but that seems unlikely. I wonder what the story is of how it has one missing leg. I did read that this type of grasshopper causes significant crop damage in the midwestern part of the U. S. I’ll monitor its presence in my garden to minimize damage to my winter crops. Click on the image for a better view.

I also captured an image of an ever-present resident in my garden, the gray bird grasshopper (also known as Schistocerca nitens and vagrant grasshopper). A few of its friends were clinging to walls, but this particular one was found amidst the dry leaves that I was raking during my clean-up. I think the colors of this grasshopper are a nice complement to those of the dried leaves. Compare its features with the spur-throated grasshopper, above.

One really good feature of a thriving garden is finding out about its creature inhabitants. I have discovered more about grasshoppers than I’d ever thought I would. It has been a wonderful learning opportunity in my own back yard. The next time you’re out in your garden, observe the critters that are there. Even the mundane ones aren’t so ordinary when you find out more information about them!

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