Q:

What do grasshoppers eat?

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Quick Answer

The grasshopper's diet consists of plant foliage, especially grasses and spurges. It eats roughly half of its body weight in plants every day, according to About.com. The vast majority of grasshoppers are polyphagous, which means they are able to eat many types of plants. Only one of the 8,000 grasshopper species relies on one single plant species, making it monophagous.

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What do grasshoppers eat?
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Full Answer

Some grasshoppers eat from a single plant in a day, while others prefer to feed from multiple host plants. Grasshoppers have salivary glands that chemically digest the carbohydrates in the plant matter they eat using enzymes, including protease, lipase, amylase, invertase and others, depending on the grasshopper's diet.

When grasshopper populations become crowded, a swarm can defoliate an entire agricultural landscape, utterly destroying many farmers' crops. Every year, grasshoppers cause billions of dollars worth of damage to grazing lands all over the world, according to About.com.

Contrary to popular knowledge, grasshoppers are able to fly, in addition to their powerful jump. They use their ability to fly to escape predators. Grasshoppers sometimes spit a brown liquid, which scientists believe is a self-defense mechanism used to drive away predators. Their green color also allows them to hide effectively in planted areas.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How long does a grasshopper live?

    A:

    The average lifespan of a grasshopper is one year. Birds, reptiles, rodents and larger insects are the grasshopper's predators. The grasshopper is an herbivore and consumes plant matter.

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  • Q:

    What are some grasshopper facts?

    A:

    Grasshoppers are brown with darker markings. They are found widely throughout the United States. They are herbivores in general, feeding on various plants, though some strictly prefer different grasses.

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  • Q:

    How does a grasshopper protect itself?

    A:

    Grasshoppers camouflage themselves from their enemies and jump or fly away if they are spotted. Once cornered, grasshoppers have the ability to spit a bitter brown liquid at a predator and can bite with their strong jaws. Birds, rodents, mantises, reptiles, beetles and spiders commonly prey on the grasshopper and are recipients of these defense mechanisms.

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  • Q:

    What is a locust compared to a grasshopper?

    A:

    According to Sciences 360, a locust is a type of grasshopper, with different behavior. Locusts can exist alone or in communities, while grasshoppers only exist in solitary states. If a locust can find food it remains alone like a grasshopper; but when a locust must compete for food it is forced to congregate in a group and release serotonin. Serotonin causes locusts to change colors, become stronger and breed faster.

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