The long-horned grasshoppers (family Tettigoniidae) are characterized by antennae longer than the body and auditory organs on the forelegs. This family includes the katydids . The short-horned grasshoppers (family Acrididae) are characterized by antennae shorter than the body and auditory organs on the abdomen. This group includes the locust . Pygmy grasshoppers (family Tetrigidae) are less than 3⁄4 in. (20 mm) in length.
Most grasshoppers mate in the fall, after which the female lays the eggs in the ground or in plant tissues. The eggs of most species hatch in the spring. Newly hatched grasshoppers are similar to the adults except for their smaller size and lack of wings. After several molts, in which the young shed their old body coats and grow new ones, the winged adult stage is attained.
Most grasshoppers are plant feeders, attacking crops such as wheat, barley, corn, rye, and oats. The migratory grasshoppers, including the locusts, are a serious threat to agriculture. A few long-horned grasshoppers are carnivorous. Grasshoppers are typically found in temperate regions. They are classified in the phylum Arthropoda , class Insecta, order Orthoptera.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Zoology: Invertebrates
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