What is the grasshopper reproduction process?


Quick Answer

Grasshoppers mate in late summer or fall, and the female lays an egg sac with up to 15 eggs in the ground. The eggs remain in the ground over winter, and they usually hatch in late May.

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Full Answer

Male grasshoppers court female with a particular "ticking" sound during their mating season. This sound is produced by a scraping of the hind legs against the wings. After mating the female will lay up to hundreds of egg pods 1 to 2inches in the ground, in dung or even on grass and leaves. These pods contain 15 eggs lined up like grains of rice. Each egg pod is a durable, frothy material that protects the eggs from drying out and from the elements. The eggs usually stay in the ground over winter, hatching in May. In some places, like the Sonoran Desert there are two hatching seasons, one in early spring and another in late summer.

The nymphs that hatch from these pods go through multiple incomplete metamorphosis stages. The process takes several weeks and involves multiple moults of the nymph's wingless body, and each time the grasshopper gets larger and appears more developed. The fully grown grasshopper does not appear until mid to late summer. In fact, grasshoppers tend to spend more of their lives, about 9 months, in their egg pods than they do as adults, about 3 months.

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