November 13, 2021
We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! The following post was originally published on August 27, 2020.
The red-legged grasshopper (Melanoplus femurrubrum) is one of our most common grasshoppers, and it can be found in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. However, depending on where you find it, it might be a different size!
The farther north you go, the smaller the adult red-legged grasshoppers. This is because colder regions have shorter growing seasons, meaning that these grasshoppers need to grow up fast. The adults up north hit maturity at a smaller size so that they can more quickly reach their reproductive stage before the season ends!
These grasshoppers are herbivores, and they aren't picky when it comes to the plants they'll eat. They're known as "mixed-feeding" herbivores, meaning they have to eat a variety of different kinds of plants in order to meet their nutritional needs. In warmer weather, they tend to eat more and grow more quickly. They also increase their food intake and metabolic rate if there are a lot of spiders and other predators around. Maybe it's stress-eating.
Thank you to VMNH Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology Dr. Kal Ivanov for IDing this one for me!
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 (www.cbtcares.com).
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
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!