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Horse Lubber Grasshopper

Grasshoppers are frequently encountered in the Sonoran Desert in the late summer. They have rounded heads which contain the compound eyes, mouth parts and short antennae (katydids, which otherwise appear very similar to grasshoppers have antennae which are longer than their bodies). The visible forewings are not used for flight, but provide protection for the delicate hind wings. The most noticeable feature of grasshoppers is their long hind legs which enable them to leap well over 20 times their body length.

Natural History

The horse lubber grasshopper is primarily black, with a stout body to 2 inches, and has greenish front wings, pink back ones, yellow markings on its body, and black and orange striped antennae. 

The Horse Lubber Grasshopper can emit a rank foam when feeling threatened.

The Horse Lubber lives in grasslands and oak habitats and ranges from Arizona to Texas and Mexico. The grasshopper spends the winter in the soil  as an egg. In the spring, after rains, the eggs hatch and the insect matures to an adult between August and November. These grasshoppers feed on a wide variety of plants including desert annuals and foliage of perennial shrubs, including mesquite. The Horse Lubber incorporates toxins from the plants they eat, making them unpalatable for most predators. Their coloration informs potential predators that they are poisonous. Males attract females both visually and acoustically by snapping their fore wings together noisily.

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