Tropidacris is a species of grasshoppers found in Central and South American grasslands. Grasshoppers are jumping creatures found in almost every ecosystem. Their body is one of the wonders of evolution because they are one of the few creatures that can be in camouflage because of their body textures and colours similar to the habitat they live in. Tropidacris is one of the types which is one of the largest grasshoppers.
This family consists of 3 sub species which are T.cristata, T.Collaris and T.violaceus
T.Cristata is the species that is found mainly in the regions of Trinidad and other north west south american regions. This family of grasshoppers have orange and reddish shade wings and is known as the largest grasshopper in the world.
Nymphs are black and yellow in colour and grow up to 10 cm long with wings size of almost 18 cm.
T.collaris consists of yellow antennae. They have a range of green to blue in the hindwings.
T.Violaceus is a long grasshopper which is green in colour.
To make it interesting tropidacris has more intriguing facts
- Habitat: they live in a wide range from humid forests to more open and drier regions.
- Prey : they are absolutely vegetarian . They primarily feed on leaves, grass, crops of wheat, barley ,alfalfa etc., their digestive systems are specialised to digest dried leaves. Chemicals in saliva and stomach break down the food they eat and produce energy.
- Reproduction : they are oviparous. They lay eggs in cooler months and hatches in warmer months which is similar to other grasshopper species.
- communication : they make louder sounds with their wings to communicate their clouds and also to attract female grasshoppers.
Do you know why these are very important in the ecosystem?
They are significant species in the food chain to maintain the equilibrium in the ecosystem. They also involve nutrient cycles where nutrients like oxygen, carbon move in the food chain. They are also very important in stimulation of plant growth.
Did you hear about locusts and swarms ?
These giant red winged creatures not only maintain the equilibrium but also sometimes pose a serious threat to crops and agriculture. In recent times we have already witnessed locust attacks in India which are desert locust and migratory locust. Imagine a 4.5 inch red winged locust attack. In recent studies in Brazil these swarm attacks are getting more often.
Fun facts about these giant red winged monsters:
- Group of grasshoppers are called “ population”.
- T.violaceus gained fame when it was discovered on the hand of James Rodríguez after he scored a goal during columbia 2-1 defeat to brazil at quarter finals of FIFA world cup 2014.
- Giant red winged grasshoppers use their powerful hind legs to push their predators away.
These giant red winged grasshoppers are sometimes hunted by hunters in the region as they look like birds. Yes, they are that large and for a reason they are one of the largest grasshoppers in the world. They are also consumed in some parts of South america. Isn’t it wonderful to explore nature and acknowledge and experience its miraculous creatures?
– by Chandana .Thurimella