All over the world, there are over 11,000 known species of grasshoppers. Of this total, over 660 species range in the United States.
Now, you may recall fond memories of grasshoppers from when you were young. But we are almost sure you do not remember noticing any difference between them.
The many species of grasshoppers differ from each other when it comes to anatomy, range, behavior, amongst other features. In fact, for some of these species, their unique characteristics define their common name.
In this article, we discuss 15 types of grasshoppers you will find in North America. We go over their range, physical features, and much more.
1. Eastern Lubber Grasshopper
The eastern lubber grasshopper is prevalent in the southeastern area of the United States. It is widespread in states like Florida, where there are usually enough eastern lubber grasshoppers to cause damage to crops.
These grasshoppers are relatively large-sized. For this reason, you are highly likely to find them in biology classrooms and labs, where they are used for dissection and similar studies.
Eastern lubber grasshoppers are relatively slow, and they favor walking or crawling over flying. For these reasons, they are called lubber. The name lubber comes from the word lobre, meaning clumsy, slow, or lazy.
Adult eastern lubber grasshoppers are typically 2.4-3.15 inches long. Depending on their phase and range, eastern lubbers come in various colors.
Some are black with a few yellowish marks (melanic). On the other hand, some are yellow with some black markings (yellowish). Then there are others with colors in between melanic and yellowish.
The average eastern lubber grasshopper lays around 30 to 50 brown or yellowish eggs per pod.
2. Marsh Meadow Grasshopper
Marsh meadow grasshoppers are found all over Canada and in the non-southeastern states of the United States.
The males of this grasshopper species are smaller than the females. On average, a female marsh meadow grasshopper is 0.8-1.4 inches long. The males, on the other hand, measure 0.5-0.8 inches.
Marsh meadow grasshoppers come in various colors, including brown, green, and yellow. Their legs are typically a shade of red, and their hindlimbs come with black joints.
While both male and female marsh meadow grasshoppers have wings, only the males can fly. Since the female wings only cover about ¾ of their abdomen, their inability to take wing is understandable.
Female marsh meadow grasshoppers produce an average of 5 eggs per pod.
3. Long-Headed Toothpick Grasshopper
The long-headed toothpick grasshopper is found in North America, particularly in Florida’s open woodlands and many other areas in the southeastern United States.
As the name reveals, the long-headed toothpick grasshopper looks like a toothpick. It is shaped like a toothpick and is usually the same color as one.
Long-headed toothpick grasshoppers are typically gray or pale-brown, but in some cases, their legs are green. They have elongated bodies, reduced wings, and slanted faces.
Long-headed toothpick grasshoppers are flightless because of their reduced wings.
4. Green Bird Grasshopper
The green bird grasshopper is a North American grasshopper. It is found in Texas, Idaho, Nevada, southwest Utah, New Mexico, and southern California.
Green bird grasshoppers are usually found inhabiting streamside spaces in desert areas. But they may also be found living in tall, flourishing vegetation.
Green bird grasshoppers are pale green with some yellow dots in their chest and abdominal region. While they are one of the largest-sized grasshoppers, they are smaller than lubber grasshoppers.
5. Striped Slant-Faced Grasshopper
The striped slant-faced grasshoppers are found in various grasslands across North America. From the western provinces of Canada to Illinois, California, Oregon, and Washington. They are also found in south and central Mexico.
The striped slant-faced grasshoppers are typically found in grassy areas. They prefer living in areas with bunchgrass or mixed grasslands. However, they do inhabit dry, grassy slopes and minor, grassy areas around river valleys.
In most of its range, the striped slant-faced grasshopper is rarely ever the predominant species. However, it may sometimes be in the top 3 most abundant species.
Striped slant-faced grasshoppers are typically green or brownish-yellow. As their name says, their faces are slanted. Their antennae are flat, and their hind tibia is blue.
While female striped slant-faced grasshoppers measure 0.8-1 inches in length, the males are 0.7-0.8 inches long.
6. Spotted Bird Grasshopper
The spotted bird grasshopper is found in Canada, the US, and Mexico. In the US, its range includes the Great Plains and the east coast. Then in Canada, the spotted bird grasshopper can be found in the southern grasslands of Alberta and Saskatchewan. In Mexico, this species mainly inhabits the northern region.
Spotted bird grasshoppers stay in various habitats, from open forest stands to dry grasslands and weedy bushes. While they have been found in moist areas, they seem to fancy drier areas, especially those with sandy soil.
Spotted bird grasshoppers come in various colors, including olive-green, dark-brown, olive-brown, yellowish-brown, reddish-brown, and yellowish-green.
Spotted bird grasshoppers are one of the larger species. While the males are 1.1-1.5 inches long, the females are 1.3-2 inches long. Their hind tibia is typically dark-reddish or black, and their spine is white with black tips.
When flustered, a spotted bird grasshopper will fly far and high. Hence, the name bird grasshopper.
7. Mischievous Bird Grasshopper
This species is found across the US. Its range includes Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. It may also be found in Mexico. Mischievous bird grasshoppers typically inhabit open woodlands and old fields.
The mischievous bird grasshopper may also be called a Carolina locust. While it is one of the smallest-sized species in its genus, it is still one of the largest in its order. The females are around 1.5-1.9 inches long, while the males are 0.98-1.4 inches long.
Mischievous bird grasshoppers are typically almost solid reddish or yellowish-brown. They may also have a mid-dorsal stripe, and their wings go beyond their abdomen only slightly.
8. Migratory Grasshopper
The migratory grasshopper is the most widespread species of its genus, Melanoplus. It ranges across all the provinces in Canada, and it is all over the United States and in southern Alaska.
Migratory grasshoppers in weedy grain fields, rangelands, cultivated fields, and hay fields. The females typically lay their eggs in stubble fields. But you may also find them drift soil, alfalfa pastures, and brome pastures.
Adult migratory grasshoppers are usually yellowish or brownish with black markings. Their hindlimbs and the sides of their chest come with multiple black bands. The average adult migratory grasshopper measure 0.9-1.1 inches in length.
9. Brown-Spotted Grasshopper
The brown-spotted grasshopper ranges from the western Canadian provinces down to northern Mexico. It is also present in Oregon, California, the Great Plains, Washington, and Montana.
Members of this species can either be green, gray-brown, or gray. No matter their color, brown-spotted grasshoppers have unmissable black spots and markings.
Brown-spotted grasshoppers are relatively small. The males are only 0.5-0.7 inches long. The females, on the other hand, can be as long as 0.9 inches.
10. Green-Striped Grasshopper
Green-striped grasshoppers occur in various places across North America. They may be found in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Arizona, and Georgia. They may also be found in Mexico and even Costa Rica.
This species prefers moist, grassy, and sunny areas. You may find them by the road, in pastures, and in hay meadows.
Male green-striped grasshoppers are often brown, while the females are green. Some adults may also be tan-colored. As their name says, the green-striped grasshoppers have brown or green stripes near the border of their forewings.
On average, an adult green-striped grasshopper measures 0.9-1.5 inches in length. Of course, the females are larger than the males; they have longer and thicker abdomens. But the males have bulkier legs and larger heads.
11. Clear-Winged Grasshopper
The clear-winged grasshopper is the most economically important species of grasshopper in Canada. It is found in various North American regions, including Alberta, British Columbia, Colorado, Wyoming, and Kentucky.
Adults of this species are brownish or yellowish with dark, mottled patches, clear wings, and two stripes extending from their thorax to their forewings. The average adult clear-winged grasshopper is 0.8-1.3 inches long.
Clear-winged grasshoppers preferentially feed on grasses and cereal grains. They typically lay their eggs in soil on road allowances. But they may also produce eggs in dry marshes and overgrazed fields.
12. Rosemary Grasshopper
The rosemary grasshoppers can only be found in central and north-central Florida. They are a rare sight. In fact, if you do not actively search for them, you may not come across one.
Rosemary grasshoppers typically inhabit sand scrub regions. You may find them in counties like Martin, Highlands, Clay, and Polk. They also occur in the Gulf Coast of Florida and the Atlantic Coast.
Adult rosemary grasshoppers have abdomens that are pale green in some places. Their bodies are mostly mottled brown and gray. The hind tibiae of rosemary grasshoppers are brown or red.
Compared to other species in its genus, the rosemary grasshoppers are relatively slender. On average, they measure 1.1-1.6 inches in length.
13. Big-Headed Grasshopper
Big-headed grasshoppers are found across grasslands in North America. Their range includes the western Canadian provinces down to Mexico, Iowa, Washington, California, Oregon, and western Minnesota.
Big-headed grasshoppers prefer inhabiting shortgrass grasslands. They are typically attracted to areas with scant greenery and bare ground.
Adult big-headed grasshoppers are medium-sized. The males are 0.6 to 1 inch long, and the females are 0.9 to 1.4 inches long. Big-headed grasshoppers have gray bodies with black markings.
14. White-Lined Bird Grasshopper
The white-lined bird grasshopper can be found in Mexico, west Texas, southeastern Arizona, and southern New Mexico.
White-lined bird grasshoppers typically live on broadleaf shrubs and trees in areas that have broken landscapes.
Members of this species are brown, olive-green, or black with yellowish spots. Their hind tibiae are typically red or black, and the hind femora feature dark bars.
15. American Grasshopper
The American grasshopper is found in Florida, throughout north and southeast USA, and east of the Great Plains. This species also occurs in the Bahamas and Mexico.
The adults are usually 1.53 to 2.2 inches long. Adult American grasshoppers are reddish-brown or pinkish brown, with light-brown wings covered in dark-brown spots.
American grasshoppers are known to attack ornamental plants and crops in cultivated fields. For this reason, they must be managed to prevent a situation where they cause extensive damage to crops.