Thursday, March 21, 2013

Romalea microptera, Eastern Lubber Grasshopper

Grasshoppers are common insects.  Often seen and heard during the warmer months here in the U.S., they are symbolic of summer and outdoor activities.  In Florida the Eastern Lubber (Romalea microptera) is our most observed species.  They are large (3 inches), brightly colored, flightless and slow moving.

Lubber's distribution is in the "U.S Subtropics," as you can see by the map

When we begin to see them in the spring, they are small black nymphs with yellow stripes.  They moult through five instars and as they do, they change color to the yellow/orange with black spots in the first photo.  Above, this "teenager" is growing bigger, but still dark colored.

Being "popular" insects, grasshoppers were studied long ago!

Grasshoppers are herbivorous, and although harmless to humans, some can do significant damage to crops.  Want to know more about our insect world....get a copy of the "Field Guide to Insects of North America," by my Facebook friend, Eric Eaton.


Here's another book I liked.

Fabled in story, song and even's a grasshopper ode!


The Grasshopper

all day long
we hear your scraping
summer song
as through
the meadow
we pass
such funny legs
such funny feet
and how we wonder
what you eat
maybe a single blink of dew
sipped from a clover leaf would do
then high in air
once more you spring
to fall in grass again
and sing.

Below is a Lubber growing larger, but still black with yellow stripes.

Some taxonomists argue for Romalea gutatta.

See if you can find the grasshopper in this classic Hokusai painting!

And here is a cohort of young lubber instars!

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