Ben here with the Monday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Ben here with the Monday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Ben here with the Monday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

While this isn't the first photo I've taken of an American bird grasshopper (Schistocerca america), it's definitely the best one. This is a bit of a difficult species to photograph; unlike most grasshoppers, their first instinct when startled is to fly up into a tree, so it's rare for me to be able to get this close to one!

This particular grasshopper is a bit unusual compared to most other grasshoppers we have in Virginia. For one thing, it's the largest grasshopper we have in the state, and for another, it's both the first grasshopper you'll see in the spring and one of the last you'll see in the fall. The reason is that unlike most grasshoppers, it overwinters as an adult instead of an egg. When you see a full-sized American bird grasshopper in the spring, it's an adult from the year before that survived the winter!

The American bird grasshopper is commonly found in the eastern U.S., Mexico, and the Bahamas. While it's not considered a major pest, localized outbreaks of this species can sometimes occur and wreak havoc on crops. This is particularly an issue in Florida where this species is a notorious pest of citrus crops.

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

map of Virginia and surrounding areas

Please Visit Us Soon


Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 4pm
Sunday - Monday: Closed


$10 for ages 18-59
$5 for ages 3-17, seniors 60+, and college students
FREE for children under 3, museum members, and members of ASTC participating institutions

My 4 year old son loves going to the museum. The exhibits are educational, interactive and kid-friendly.

Beth Deathrage

Hear More  arrow