Grasshoppers, Katydids and Crickets (Orthoptera)
Members of the order Orthoptera are found at nearly all latitudes, though they are primarily tropical insects as judged by species diversity, which is greatest in warm areas. Most are known for their well-developed hind legs and jumping abilities, but many are noteworthy because they “sing,” particularly at night. Orthopterans, or at least the grasshoppers and locusts, are often considered synonymous with “plagues” due to the devastating damage they inflict during periods of abundance.
Orthopterans are usually medium-sized to large insects. Not surprising for a large taxon, the wing condition varies considerably. They may be apterous (wingless), micropterous (short-winged and incapable of flight), or macropterous (long-winged and capable of flight). When bearing wings, which is the usual condition, they usually bear two pairs, and sometimes are capable of very strong flight. The name Orthoptera means “straight-winged” and refers to the thickened front wings or tegmina. The front wings...
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