Edit: A very wise friend of mine was kind enough to mention that I should also utilize common names when writing such posts. My apologies, I’d just gotten highly caught up in my ranting; I don’t tend to use English names, as my E.F.L. tendencies often get in the way of my remembering them. I’ve now added common names in parentheses.
Today’s post concerns C. viridifasciata (the Northern Green-striped Grasshopper), as described by De Geer in 1773. I’ve wanted to see one of these guys for the longest time now, so I was ecstatic when I [quite literally] stumbled upon this little girl. Had I not been shuffling my feet in her direction, I’d never have seen her – as can be noted in examining this photograph (which does not do her justice), her ability to camouflage is really quite outstanding.
Note the pronounced sclerites, namely the pronotal disk . You can make out her ovipositor quite well in this shot; that, in addition to the fact that most females of this species are green, indicates her being just that – a female.
Being quick to generate much ado about nothing (and to make rather unsettling attempts at puns), I’d also like to address several concepts of interest on the topic of grasshoppers.
1. The archetypal grasshopper is probably something like M. bivittatus (the Two-striped Grasshopper) – small and green. As such, when most say “grasshopper”, they are referring to an insect within the suborder Caelifera, the members of which I will hereafter refer to as “short-horned grasshoppers” in the hopes of eliminating ambiguity. However, theoretically, the term “grasshopper” denotes the order Orthoptera, which also contains crickets, katydids, et cetera.
A significant problem arises with “grasshopper” being used to describe sometimes just Caelifera and sometimes the entirety of Orthoptera. The traits of the former may inadvertently become affixed to the English name, suddenly rendering all katydids herbivorous. Oppositely, of course, carnivorous Caelifera could spontaneously generate (they couldn’t evolve as such, certainly, noting the results of gut analyses and recalling phylogenetic constraints). A universal distinction needs to be established – even my good old (to employ an idiom and simultaneously speak the truth) Oxford Paperback is alarmingly vague – “a jumping insect that makes a shrill chirping noise”.
2. The terms “locust” and “grasshopper” are not interchangeable – locusts are of the Acrididae, a family within Caelifera. So, all locusts are grasshoppers, but not all grasshoppers are locusts.
Well, that concludes today’s ran-I mean, erm, excessively brief post. An attempt at both humour and a warning: the meter of this blog will most certainly be acatalectic. You theoretically can’t describe anything besides a line of verse as such, but my point is that I will not “stop short” here – this is one of my few opportunities to rant, and I will do so with reckless abandon.