MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: How long does it take for a grasshoppers eggs to hatch?

Date: Fri May 5 08:21:13 2000
Posted By: Justin Roux, Engineering and Physiological Scientist.
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 953674923.Zo

Hi Jeanette.

I'm sorry that I took so long in answering your question, but I'm afraid 
that I have been working away for a week or so. I hope that your eggs have 
been well in the meantime.

Grasshoppers belong to an insect order called 'Orthoptera' along with the 
crickets, locusts, and ground hoppers. I am often asked how to tell them 
apart, so I'll pass that information on: Grasshoppers have short antennae, 
and their ears are on their abdomen, whereas crickets have long antennae 
that usually reach well back along the abdomen, and their ears are easily 
visible on their front legs if you can get one to sit still long enough to 
let you look. Grasshopper wings are also usually much more developed than 
those of a cricket.

The lifecycle of the Orthoptera, in most cases, works on a yearly basis. 
They are 'exopterygotes' which means that the eggs hatch into nymphs which 
grow gradually into the adult without using a pupa or chrysalis. By 
contrast, butterflies are 'endopterygotes' which means that the young look 
nothing like the adult, and they use a pupa or chrysalis to make the 

Orthoptera lay their eggs in many different places: most crickets lay them 
in the ground, or at the base of plant stems. Grasshoppers tend to lay 
them in clusters further up the stem or under leaves. Some species cover 
the eggs in a foam that sets hard to protect them from frost and 
predators. All this generally happens in the late Summer or Autumn, and 
the adults die shortly afterwards. In the spring, the nymphs emerge, 
usually cased in a membrane to protect their new limbs as they work their 
way to the outside world; they then shed the membrane and turn from white 
to their natural colour in about an hour or so. Then they will begin to 
eat, and eat, and eat, and eat. If you are lucky enough to see an insect 
hatching, cancel all your appointments and watch one of nature's greatest 
marvels. I remember spending about two hours watching a mealworm beetle 
hatch from it's pupa - just amazing.

Very very few Orthoptera have a longer life cycle, but this is a trait of 
the larger species of cricket. Sometimes the nymphs will grow over two 
years, and in the case of the Great Green Bush Cricket you could be 
waiting a couple of years just for the eggs to hatch, but fear not - your 
grasshopper eggs will soon be hatching with a little Texas warmth and 

Enjoy them.


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