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Let's take a look at a couple of photographs sent in by my cousin.

(Photograph by Karen Gibson, used with permission)

How did she ever spot this mostly green grasshopper hiding on a green plant?

 

(Photograph by Karen Gibson, used with permission)

Looks a lot different close up! Can you see the bright yellow semi-lunar process at the "knee joint" of the hind legs? (See previous post about grasshoppers for details).

This species has an unusual common name:  obscure bird grasshopper,  Schistocerca obscura.

Turns out the plant is unusual, too. Called the citronella plant or mosquito plant geranium, Pelargonium citrosum, it is a scented geranium that smells like another plant, citronella. Citronella is supposed to chase away mosquitoes, although there's some question whether the scented geranium has the same effect.

In any case, a scented geranium that smells like citronella evidently does not chase away grasshoppers.

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Thanks to Karen for permission to use her photographs.

Grasshoppers are moving in Arizona right now.

One of the most common species is the native pallid-winged grasshopper, Trimerotropis pallidipennis.

It can be difficult to identify grasshoppers because members of a single species vary a lot in color. The two grasshoppers in the photographs are within a few feet of each other, but notice how much darker the top one's wing bands are (it isn't just the lighting). Grasshoppers often blend into the background so well that you don't see them until they jump and fly.

Pallid grasshoppers feed on desert grasses and when the grasses dry up, they move or "disperse" to areas with more food. According to this article, pallid grasshoppers have been found flying at altitudes of 3000-5000 feet for long distances. In one record in 1966 pallid grasshoppers from the western United States were found in Hawaii. That's a long flight!

Are grasshoppers still active where you live? What colors do you see?

Did you ever wonder where insects go for the winter?

Sometimes insects spend the winter as adults.  We found this one hiding in a pile of leaves when we were doing some yard work.

grasshopper

A few weeks ago we found another grasshopper that looked very similar hiding in an old bird's nest that had fallen down. I guess by having old nests and old leaves lying around, we are helping out our insects. Who would have thought?

For More Information:

Where Do They Go? Insects in Winter by Millicent Ellis Selsam

I Wonder Where Butterflies Go In Winter and Other Neat Facts About Insects by Molly Marr and Paul Mirocha