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Grasshoppers are one of the most common insects for residents of the southern regions of Russia and post-Soviet countries. Living in the steppes, they fill these open spaces with their recognizable chirping. From the fields, they move to vegetable gardens, where every now and then they take off from the thickets of tomatoes during the harvest.
In general, insects from the genus of grasshoppers have coexisted with humanity from the very beginning of civilization. Locusts are a dangerous pest, whose raids can cause hunger and pestilence, which is even mentioned in the Bible. Crickets are not so frightening, although it is extremely difficult to fall asleep to their chirping from somewhere under the bed (or closet? Or maybe under the wallpaper? But where is he ?!) Therefore, it seems that grasshoppers cannot surprise with anything.
But no, they can. Sizes. Some species of these insects grow to impressive sizes. And about them – about the largest grasshoppers in the world – and will be discussed in this material.
- Ranking of the largest grasshoppers in the world
- 9th place: Green grasshopper (Tettigonia viridissima), up to 43 mm
- 8th place: Steppe fat (Bradyporus multituberculatus), up to 60 mm
- 7th place: Tolstun Pallas (Deracantha onos), up to 60 mm
- 6th place: Spiny Devil (Panacanthus cuspidatus), up to 60 mm
- 5th place: Mormon grasshopper (Anabrus simplex), up to 80 mm
- 4th place: Steppe hole (Saga pedo), up to 80 mm
- 3rd place: Desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria), up to 100 mm
- 2nd place: Giant ueta (Deinacrida heteracantha), up to 100 mm
- 1st place: Giant long-legged grasshopper (Arachnacris corporalis), up to 130 mm
Ranking of the largest grasshoppers in the world
|Ranking of the largest grasshoppers in the world||9||Green Grasshopper (Tettigonia viridissima)||43 cm.|
|8||Steppe fat (Bradyporus multituberculatus )||60 CM.|
|7||Fat Pallas (Deracantha onos )||60 CM.|
|6||Spiny Devil (Panacanthus cuspidatus)||60 CM.|
|5||Mormon Grasshopper (Anabrus simplex)||80 CM.|
|4||Steppe duck (Saga pedo)||80 CM.|
|3||Desert Locust (Schistocerca gregaria)||100 CM.|
|2||Giant Ueta (Deinacrida heteracantha )||100 CM.|
|1||Giant leggy grasshopper (Arachnacris corporalis )||130 CM.|
9th place: Green grasshopper (Tettigonia viridissima), up to 43 mm
It's worth starting with the familiar green grasshopper, also called common. These insects are found almost throughout the territory of Russia, except perhaps Siberia and the circumpolar regions. The largest specimens of the species can grow to a length of 28-43 mm.
Despite its name, the common grasshopper is not necessarily exclusively green in color. Depending on the habitat, there are also yellow or brown-brown subspecies. So, in the south of Russia (Rostov Region, Krasnodar Territory) dirty yellow insects with red, blue or transparent wings live.
Surprisingly, common grasshoppers are predators. They feed on small insects, often catch butterflies and occasionally resort to cannibalism. If the food supply is insufficient, grasshoppers can switch to plant food – and then turn into pests. In order to store enough energy, they begin to absorb large quantities of green mass, eating tree leaves, spikelets of cereals and even buds or flowers.
For a normal habitat, grasshoppers need a fairly high level of humidity. Therefore, they are easier to find in regularly watered vegetable gardens than in the middle of fields. In addition, they inhabit the edges of forests, grassy bogs and in the coastal zone of rivers and streams.
8th place: Steppe fat (Bradyporus multituberculatus), up to 60 mm
Steppe fat, in principle, is not very similar to a grasshopper – outwardly he is closer to his neighbor in the Orthoptera squad, the bear. But entomologists attribute the species Bradyporus multituberculatus to the family of ball-headed grasshoppers. So, this insect, the females of which grow up to 60 mm in length, is quite worthy of inclusion in our rating.
Steppe Tolstun is endemic to the Black Sea region of Russia. Previously, it could be found right up to the Voronezh region, but now the range has significantly decreased due to changes in habitat conditions. So, you can now admire the steppe fat only on the coast of the Black and Azov Seas, and you will have to go to the few virgin steppes with forbs and cereal vegetation. There are few such places left – and therefore the grasshopper is included in the Red Book of Russia.
Unlike its predecessor, steppe fat is a herbivorous grasshopper. The diet is dominated by the green mass of cereals, sometimes sage, dandelion, plantain and other herbs are found. Also, scientists noted that sometimes the steppe fat man gnaws the abdomens of dead insects, including their own species.
The grasshopper is large and massive. It is painted shiny black with lighter paws. The wings are absent, rudimentary translucent elytra grow from the 'neck'. Females are more brightly colored and have a long ovipositor at the end of the abdomen.
7th place: Tolstun Pallas (Deracantha onos), up to 60 mm
Fat Pallasa, also called the 'overweight drone', is a large steppe grasshopper that cannot jump or fly. So he only has to crawl on the ground. Insects grow up to 60 mm in length (in females, including the ovipositor).
Fat Pallas is a relict species that has survived without evolution since prehistoric times. Inhabits the untouched steppes in Transbaikalia, Mongolia and North China. It is listed in numerous Red Data Books, since it could not adapt to coexistence with humans. The activity of people – grazing and plowing virgin steppes – violates the conditions of existence of the fat Pallas, which makes the species especially sensitive to any climatic changes. In addition, in Mongolia and China, these grasshoppers were previously eaten – fried.
Grasshoppers have an unusual appearance – a heavy, voluminous body, short legs, completely missing wings (even the elytra, like that of the steppe fat, is practically not preserved in the Pallasov). Colored light brown with black and red spots. Omnivores, but not hunters – feed on plants, the remains of large insects. Cannibalism is also observed in captivity.
6th place: Spiny Devil (Panacanthus cuspidatus), up to 60 mm
The spiny devil grasshopper (Panacanthus cuspidatus) is a rather rare and poorly studied insect. The species was discovered quite recently, found in tropical forests. The insect can grow up to 60 mm in length.
Its name 'spiny devil' is due to the fact that its entire body is covered with sharp triangular spines. The grasshopper uses them for protection, due to which it is able to repel even rather large birds. In case of danger, the 'spiny devil' rises on its hind legs and begins to swing the front pair, studded with the sharpest spines. A frightening looking head also adds a head with yellow-orange-black mandibles and pink-red eyes. The rest of the insect's body is colored bright green – except for the abdomen, it is yellow.
The 'spiny devil' is a nocturnal insect. It is omnivorous, however, most of the diet is made up of plant products: fruits, seeds, green mass. Interestingly, the hearing organs in Panacanthus cuspidatus are located not on the hind legs, like in other grasshoppers, but on the front ones.
The wings of the 'spiny devil', like those of the fat people, are rudimentary. They are only used for streaking. A grasshopper cannot fly.
5th place: Mormon grasshopper (Anabrus simplex), up to 80 mm
Despite some similarities with fat people, the Mormon grasshopper (or, as it is called in the United States, the 'Mormon cricket') belongs to the family of true grasshoppers. The same as ordinary green. Only this huge grasshopper does not have wings, only rudimentary processes remain, and a heavy and voluminous body is capable of growing up to 80 mm in length.
The Mormon grasshopper lives almost throughout North America, choosing for life grazing lands dominated by wormwood and shrubs. Insect color varies depending on location and conditions. There are also black insects, and brown, and red, and purple, and even green.
An interesting feature of the Mormon grasshopper is swarming. The insect cannot fly, but in some cases for some reason it gathers in large 'flocks'. They roam, covering on foot up to 2 kilometers a day, eating green mass on the way. There were several cases when swarms of Mormon grasshoppers led to traffic closures – until the swarms of insects crossed the road, cars could not drive along it.
The reason why Mormon grasshoppers periodically gather in swarms and travel around America is not yet clear. Some researchers associate it with the weather, others with a lack of nutrients (proteins and salt), and still others with the cannibalistic behavior of the insects themselves.
4th place: Steppe hole (Saga pedo), up to 80 mm
Steppe dybka is the largest grasshopper in Russia. It can grow up to 80 mm in length. It is found throughout the southern European part of the country, as well as in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Georgia. However, it is not widespread, since habitats are being destroyed, and therefore it is included in the Red Data Books of almost all countries.
Like fat people, the steppe stalk prefers unplowed meadows. Human agricultural activities, including grazing and growing crops, lead to the destruction of the insect's natural habitats.
The steppe dybka has a very recognizable appearance. Almost the entire body of a grasshopper is painted in a matte dark green color, which helps it blend in with the grass. The wings are completely absent, even the rudimentary elytra are absent. The front legs are powerful, with pointed edges, like a praying mantis.
Parthenogenetic reproduction is one of the most interesting features of the steppe duck. This grasshopper has no males, only females. They are ways of laying eggs without fertilization, from which genetically identical grasshoppers hatch. That is, in fact, the steppe duck clones itself during reproduction. Because of this type of reproduction, the insect does not have 'mating periods' – the female lays eggs throughout her life, and even in dead specimens, several units are found in the 'uterus'.
The steppe duck is a predatory grasshopper that uses a trapping type of hunting. The insect hides in the grass, and then rushes on smaller invertebrates that happen to be nearby. The diet includes smaller grasshoppers, filly, beetles, bedbugs and praying mantises.
3rd place: Desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria), up to 100 mm
The Desert Locust, also called African locust, is the largest member of the family. It can grow up to 100 mm in length. And it is she who is the most dangerous pest for humans – swarms of desert locusts are able to devour entire fields, vegetable gardens and vineyards, leaving people without food for the next year. And then another swarm will arrive.
The Desert Locust is dangerous not only because of its gluttony (it eats as much green mass every day as it weighs itself). She is also capable of flying tens of kilometers, and the speed of movement is very high. The insect also reproduces very quickly. During the year, 5-7 new generations of locust have time to appear.
The desert locust lives primarily in northern Africa – tropical and subtropical zones of the continent. But it can spread to Hindustan and Arabia. With sufficient food resources, it leads a sedentary lifestyle, but in case of hunger it is able to gather in flocks and swarms and fly tens and hundreds of kilometers in search of a sufficient amount of green mass. It feeds on herbs, eats leaves and fruits from trees and shrubs.
The insect is colored bright yellow, with a lighter belly. The wings are transparent, with small black spots. When flying, it emits a characteristic chirp, which in swarms unites into a recognizable buzz, spreading kilometers from the flock and serving as a symbol of the approach of locusts.
2nd place: Giant ueta (Deinacrida heteracantha), up to 100 mm
The giant ueta is the largest member of the genus and at the same time one of the heaviest insects in the world. Females of this species grow up to 100 mm in length and weigh up to 71 grams. Of course, with such dimensions, the insect cannot fly and jump, but moves by crawling.
Giant Ueta is endemic to New Zealand. It is very rare in nature, the only population is registered in Little Barrier National Park. Painted light brown with black stripes. A characteristic feature of the grasshopper is the four long spines on its hind legs. When an insect is frightened, it lifts this pair of legs and thus assumes a threatening stance.
It should be noted that the weight of 71 grams is not only the maximum registered. This mass is observed only in females ready to lay eggs. Without 'future children', the insect weighs only 19-25 grams.
Despite its large size and mass, the giant ueta is mainly a herbivorous grasshopper. The diet consists of seeds, fruits, fruits and flowers. It is extremely rare for an insect to 'feast' on protein food, eating small invertebrates. Ueta enter the local ecosystem by spreading the seeds of some plants after eating the fruits.
1st place: Giant long-legged grasshopper (Arachnacris corporalis), up to 130 mm
The giant long-legged grasshopper is the largest grasshopper ever. With sizes up to 130 millimeters, it is quite comparable to a small kitten or the palm of an adult. Found exclusively in Malaysia.
The insect is almost completely green. Only the legs are more yellow, and there are torn black spots on the edges of the wings. Thanks to this appearance, the grasshopper becomes almost invisible in the rainforest – it can be easily confused with a slightly spoiled tree leaf. Therefore, it is not interesting to either predators or herbivorous 'neighbors'.
Like many other grasshoppers, the giant leggy is an omnivorous insect. Most of the diet consists of plant foods – leaves, fruits and flowers. But sometimes he begins to hunt smaller invertebrates, and also does not disdain carrion. Still, the insect needs protein food.
Despite belonging to the True Grasshopper genus and relatively long legs, Arachnacris corporalis has lost the ability to jump. And he rarely flies and reluctantly, preferring to crawl. It is predominantly nocturnal.
Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.