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Home > General > What Do Grasshoppers Eat? Nutritional Facts & FAQ

What Do Grasshoppers Eat? Nutritional Facts & FAQ


Grasshoppers are common insects that you have probably encountered a time or two, but have you ever thought about what they eat? If you were to inspect a grasshopper’s mouth, you would probably be shocked at the sight.

Unlike predatory insects, grasshoppers have mouths that are designed to eat plants, leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds. In fact, their mouths provide almost perfect access to plants. It is for this reason that most grasshoppers are herbivores, meaning that they only eat plants.

Of course, there are some species of grasshoppers that eat insects and dead mammals, but these species are rare. Most likely, grasshoppers that hop around your yard simply munch on grass, leaves, and other plant life around your home.


Identifying Grasshoppers

There are multiple species of grasshoppers (over 10,000 to be exact), but the most common are the Acrididae. If you have grasshoppers in your backyard, they are most likely to be the Acrididae species. Acrididae grasshoppers have large hind legs and shorthorns. The hind legs make them great for jumping.

Additionally, they have mandibles, which are parts of the mouth that help with chewing. The mandibles move side to side and include sharp edges and flat surfaces for grinding. Their mouths also include maxillae. These parts act like built-in forks and spoons for the grasshoppers.

All grasshopper species belong to the Orthoptera group. Other insects that belong to this group include crickets and katydids.

Grasshopper Closeup
Image By: Huskyherz, Pixabay


Life of a Grasshopper

Grasshoppers are born from eggs in the late spring. Whenever grasshoppers first hatch, they’re called nymphs. Over eight weeks, nymphs molt and grow wings that are capable of flying. They also grow their genitalia during these eight weeks. The adult grasshoppers stay in the area they were born if food is abundant, but they may move in search of new food sources. Most grasshoppers die in winter.

Although most all adult grasshoppers die from the cold of winter, some die before. For example, some grasshoppers will die from injury or disease, whereas others can be eaten by predators. Wasps, ants, spiders, lizards, and snakes are common predators of grasshoppers.

Where Do Grasshoppers Live?

Grasshoppers are native to all continents with the exception of Antarctica. As you would guess from their names, grasshoppers love to live in grassy ranges. The female grasshoppers will lay their eggs in undisturbed meadows and fields where soil is common. These eggs remain in the soil throughout the winter and hatch at the end of spring.

Grasshopper Eating
Image By: 282060 , Pixabay

What Do Grasshoppers Eat?

From the time grasshoppers are in their nymph phase to the time they are full-fledged adults, they snack on plants. Grasshoppers are not known to be picky eaters, but their favorite food is often leafy greens. Grasshoppers will eat a variety of plants, including grasses, stems, and flowers.

If food is scarce, grasshoppers are known to eat fungi, animal dung, and moss. In worst-case scenarios, grasshoppers will even eat rotting meat or insects and spiders that are weakened, though this is far from their first choice.

If you have grasshoppers in your backyard, you can actually feed them some food out of your fridge. They love well-washed kale, lettuce, and cabbage. It’s important to wash the vegetables thoroughly so as to remove any pesticides, though.

Do Grasshoppers Need Friends?

Grasshoppers are primarily solitary creatures. Sometimes, many grasshoppers congregate together. Whenever they congregate, especially if they are the same species, they are referred to as locust. These locust swarms have millions of grasshoppers, and they can lead to serious plight around the globe.

Since most grasshoppers are solitary, the majority of the species do not need friends. They will mainly only communicate to mate. Grasshoppers communicate using sight, sound, scent, and touch. The males will also do different things, such as vibrate their wings, to attract females through the sound their wings make.divider-multiprint


Grasshoppers primarily eat grasses, leaves, and other plants. If plants are scarce, some species will start eating moss, rotting meat, and other insects, but they greatly prefer leafy greens and vegetables. If you have a garden or farm, grasshoppers can be serious pests that eat your entire crop.

If you just have a couple of grasshoppers hopping around your yard, however, there is no harm in laying out a couple pieces of well-washed lettuce. They will love to snack on the food you provide!

Featured Image Credit by realworkhard, Pixabay

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