Week 25: Giant grasshopper

What sort of insect is this?

Where does it live?

What do they eat?

What eats them?

Giant grasshopper

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Answers:

What sort of insect is this? Where does it live?

This is a giant grasshopper, Tropidacris latreillei, which are found mostly in open forested areas of Central and northern South America. They are among the largest grasshoppers in the world. Some Tropidacris can grow to almost 5 inches long, with a wingspan of up to 9 inches!

What do they eat? Does anything eat them?

These grasshoppers are strict herbivores, like other grasshoppers, and eats mostly plants in the grass family such as wheat, barley, and corn. The larger members of the grasshopper family are rarely found in large numbers, but when they are they can quickly cause serious property damage to a farmer's crops. Grasshoppers have been gathered for food in many places around the world, and these ones have been traditionally favored by the local Yukpa Indians. In winter months they would set fire to dry grassy fields, driving the fleeing insects toward groups waiting with baskets. This technique doubled as pest control, also keeping down the numbers of other more harmful pests. Once caught they would often be wrapped in a leaf and roasted before being eaten.