14 Difference Between Grasshopper And Locust (With Comparison Chart)

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Grasshopper

The grasshopper is a medium to large sized insect and common in greatest numbers in lowland tropical forests, semiarid regions and grasslands. They are best known for their ability to jump incredible heights and distances.

Like all insects, all species of grasshopper have a three-part body that is, head, thorax and the abdomen. They also have six legs, two pairs of wings and two antennae. Most grasshopper individuals grow to about 2 inches long although larger grasshoppers are found on a fairly regular basis that grows to more than 5 inches in length.

Grasshopper has six jointed legs that are typically powerful for such a small feature. The four front legs of the grasshopper are mainly used to hold onto prey and help it walk, whereas the two back legs are long and powerful and are mainly for jumping around.

Grasshoppers are herbivore animals and have a diet that consists solely of plant matter. Grasshoppers eat grasses, weeds, leaves, shrubs, bark and numerous other species of plants that surround them.

The female grasshopper lays an egg pod that contains a couple of dozen grasshopper eggs in the late autumn to early winter depending on the area.  The female grasshopper inserts her egg pod into the soil so that it is a couple of inches underground. The grasshopper eggs can take up to 9 month to hatch as they wait until the weather has warmed before breaking into the outside world.

In certain parts of the world, grasshoppers are eaten as food. They are often dried, jellied, roasted and dipped in honey or ground into a meal.

What You Need To Know About Grasshopper

  1. Grasshoppers are pest species with powerful hind legs. Grasshoppers occur in greatest numbers in lowland tropical forests, semiarid regions and grasslands.
  2. The grasshopper life cycle only has three stages: Egg, Nymph and Adult. The process of going from egg to full adult grasshopper is referred to as metamorphosis. Grasshopper’s metamorphosis is incomplete, because it does not turn into a caterpillar.
  3. The grasshopper belongs to the suborder referred to as Caelifera.
  4. A grasshopper has about 28 distinct families.
  5. A grasshopper is specifically a solitary insects throughout their lives, coming together only for reproduction.
  6. Grasshoppers are relatively sedentary species maintain the same behavior of survival for long periods.
  7. Grasshoppers only move when threatened and during feeding.  
  8. Grasshoppers range in color from green to olive or brown and may have yellow or red markings.
  9. Grasshoppers are generally large with some exceeding 10 cm in length e.g Tropidacris of South America.
  10. Grasshoppers are controlled in nature by predators such as birds, frogs and snakes. Also insecticides and poisonous baits can be used to control grasshoppers when they become crop pests.
  11. Grasshoppers prefer areas with long grass.
  12. In certain parts of the world, grasshoppers are eaten as food. They are often dried, jellied, roasted and dipped in honey or ground into a meal.
  13. A grasshopper comparatively covers a very small distance.
  14. A grasshopper feeds on grass.

Locust

Locusts refers to a type of short-horned insects that often increase greatly in numbers and migrate long distances in destructive swarms. Locusts are related to grasshoppers and two insects look similar.  However, locust behavior can be something else entirely. Locusts are sometimes solitary insects with lifestyles much like grasshoppers.  But locusts have another behavioral phase referred to as gregarious phase. When environmental conditions produce many green plants and promote breeding.

Adult locusts differ more in form than in color. The solitary phase has shorter wings, longer legs and a narrow pronotum or dorsal sclerite (with higher crest and larger head), than the gregarious phase. The adult of the gregarious phase has a more saddle-shaped pronotum, broader shoulders and longer wings. The adults are powerful fliers; they can congregate into thick, mobile swarms and travel great distances, consuming most of the green vegetation wherever the swarm settles.

Just like grasshoppers, all species of locusts undergo three main life stages: Egg, Nymph and adult locust. Though all locusts go through the phases, the amount of time spent in each stage varies according to the specific species of locust.

More importantly, the migratory locust (Locusta migratoria), displays a green color when it is living a more solitary life while the insects living in larger swarms develop black and brown coloring. However, an immature gregarious locust is pink in color and yellow when it has fully matured.

Once developed, a locust plague is almost impossible to stop or control. Control measures include destroying egg masses laid by invading swarms, digging trenches to trap nymphs using hopperdozers (wheeled screens that cause locusts to fall into troughs containing water and kerosene), using insecticidal baits and applying insecticides to both swarms and breeding grounds from aircraft.

What You Need To Know About Grasshopper

  1. Locusts are plant-eating insect that has ability to change color and behavior while swarming.
  2. All species of locusts undergo three main life stages: Egg, Nymph and adult locust. Though all locusts go through the phases, the amount of time spent in each stage varies according to the specific species of locust.
  3. The locust belongs to the suborder Acrididae.
  4. Locust has a single family.
  5. Locusts are found to be solitary insects; however, they merge into huge swarms during favorable conditions.
  6. A locust can change its shape, color, state of fertility as well as their behavior of survival.
  7. Locusts are migratory species often shifting from one area to the next in search of food. Even in their solitary states, locusts are still known to fly over long distances.
  8. The migratory locust (Locusta migratoria), displays a green color when it is living a more solitary life while the insects living in larger swarms develop black and brown coloring. However, an immature gregarious locust is pink in color and yellow when it has fully matured.
  9. Locusts are generally smaller in size when compared to grasshopper. They are about 3-4 centimeters in length. One locust can consume its own weight in food each day, a massive threat to crops and pasture.
  10. Control measures include destroying egg masses laid by invading swarms, digging trenches to trap nymphs using hopperdozers (wheeled screens that cause locusts to fall into troughs containing water and kerosene), using insecticidal baits and applying insecticides to both swarms and breeding grounds from aircraft.
  11. Locusts prefer areas with plants and vegetation.
  12. Locusts are edible insects. Several cultures throughout the world consume insects and locust are considered a delicacy and eaten in many African, Middle Eastern and Asian Countries. They have been used as food throughout history.
  13. A locust can cover a long distance in its lifetime.
  14. A locust can feed on crops and vegetation, which mostly causes a lot of damage to crops.

Difference Between Grasshopper And Locust In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON GRASSHOPPER LOCUSTS
Kingdom Animalia Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda Arthropoda
Class Insecta Insecta
Order Orthoptera Orthoptera
Family Caelifera Acrididae
Common Name Grasshopper Locust
Scientific Name Caelifera Schistocerca
Location Worldwide Worldwide
Diet Herbivore Herbivore
Size 38-50mm (1.5-2inches) They are about 3-4 centimeters in length.
Number of Species 11000 Locus is a single family of species
Average Lifespan 1 year 1 year
Conservation Status Least Concern Least Concern
Color Brown, Yellow, Green Green when solitary but turn orange, brown or yellow when matured.
Skin Type Shell Shell
Favorite Food Grass Plants
Habitat Fields and meadows Move from one place to another. But locusts generally prefer areas with plants and vegetation.  
Main Prey Grass, weed, shrub Grass, Plants, weed, shrub and other green vegetation.
Average litter Size 4 10
Predators Birds, Rodents, Reptiles and insects. Birds, Rodents, Reptiles and insects.
Special Feature Long, thin antenna and the ability to jump. Have powerful wings with ability to fly long distances.
Behavior A grasshopper is specifically a solitary insect. Locusts are found to solitary insects however, they merge into huge swarms during favorable conditions.  
Distance of Travel A grasshopper comparatively covers a very small distance. Locusts cover vast distances in its lifetime.
Family A grasshopper has about 28 distinct families. Locust has a single-family.
Migration Grasshoppers only move when threatened and during feeding.    Locusts are migratory species often shifting from one area to the next in search of food. Even in their solitary states, locusts are still known to fly over long distances.  
Control Grasshoppers are controlled in nature by predators such as birds, frogs and snakes. Also insecticides and poisonous baits can be used to control grasshoppers when they become crop pests.   Control measures include destroying egg masses laid by invading swarms, digging trenches to trap nymphs using hopperdozers (wheeled screens that cause locusts to fall into troughs containing water and kerosene), using insecticidal baits and applying insecticides to both swarms and breeding grounds from aircraft.  

Similarities

  • Many species of grasshoppers and locusts belong to the Acridoidea family in the order Orthoptera.
  • They are both treated as pests due to their ability to destroy crops.
  • Both adults of locust and grasshoppers have two wings in the front and two membranous wings in the back which are all fully developed.
  • Both locust and grasshopper have large hind legs, which allow them to hop.
  • Both female locusts and grasshoppers are larger than their male counterparts.
  • Both grasshoppers and locusts come in green, brown or dark yellow colors but the color pattern of locusts often changes when they enter their swarming or migratory phase.
  • Both locusts and other grasshoppers are herbivores and in high numbers can cause serious crop damage.
  • Both are short-horned and have short ovipositors, two short antennae and long back legs for leaping.
  • Locusts and grasshoppers have two front wings and two membranous wings in the back.
  • Both undergo incomplete metamorphosis.
  • Both are bugs that have large, compound eyes and a pair of short antennae.
  • The mouth of both locust and grasshopper consist of strong mandible.  

6 COMMENTS

  1. Hello admin, am Ken Joerhc from Australia. Why are deseart locust so difficult to control? What is the best way to deal with a swarm of locust? This things are really doing a lot of distraction on my farm.

  2. Scientists discovered a few years back that at low densities, the insects were unorganized and went their separate ways. But when the group’s density increased, the bugs fell into an orderly line and began to follow the same direction.
    That’s how funny locusts can get.

  3. Locusts have been a problem to us here in East Africa. A swarm of Locust has inveded farms and vegetation. The destruction is humongous. I hear guys on TV say that the locust came all the way from Yemen to Egypt to Ethiopia then Kenya to Uganda and Tanzania.
    However, I would love to know if it’s true that a swarm of locust can travel all those kilimoters.

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