Have you ever tried to catch a grasshopper? It’s pretty hard; and there are a couple of reasons why. For one thing, most can jump 20 times their length – and some species more than that. The other reason is that grasshoppers have five, yes five, eyes!

I believe this brightly colored little guy is a Differential grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis). I found him in action eating his lunch in a friend’s garden. There are 548 species of North American grasshoppers, so it can be hard to keep track of which one is which. Most grasshoppers are considered pests because they can destroy crops, however, they have a wide range of natural predators and also can be beneficial when they eat weeds. Instead of lungs, grasshoppers have tiny holes, called spiracles, in their thoraxes and abdomens. Next time you see a grasshopper, look at it closely. You can see the abdomen move in and out as it breaths.

The original work is available for purchase on Etsy.

© 2011 Ashley P. Halsey