Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Order Orthoptera - Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids

Hopper - Scudderia short-horned grasshopper - Paroxya atlantica Tetrigidae - Paratettix mexicanus Shield-back Katydid? - Atlanticus gibbosus - male Cricket-Katydid-Grasshopper - Atlanticus - female grasshopper - Dissosteira carolina Schistocerca ceratiola - male grasshopper - Melanoplus borealis - male
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
The treatment here follows primarily Orthoptera Species File (1)
In this and related orders, some authors tend to elevate categories such as tribes, subfamilies, etc. to higher ranks, while others do the opposite or remain more conservative. This has lead to an ongoing, often very confusing, inconsistency and instability in the literature.
Explanation of Names
Greek orthos (straight) + pteron (wing)
>1,200 species in 256 genera in our area (2); over 20,000 species worldwide
hind legs long, modified for jumping
forewings (tegmina) hardened, leathery, spread in flight, covering membranous hindwings at rest
cerci (appendages at tip of abdomen) unsegmented
pronotum usually with large descending lobes on sides
hind coxae small and well-separated
hind tibiae with two dorsal rows of teeth

Two major taxonomic divisions:
Caelifera - Grasshoppers and allies
Ensifera - Crickets, katydids and allies
worldwide except very cold regions; most diverse in warmer climates
Life Cycle
Metamorphosis gradual (paurometabolous); nymphs resemble adults, typically develop external wing buds, and live in the same habitat as adults, typically taking the same food.
In most crickets and katydids, the female mounts the male for mating -- apparently the primitive (original) behavior in Orthoptera. Short-horned Grasshoppers (Acrididae) have a contorted mating posture with the male mounting the female, but the abdomen twisted strangely. (3)
Mating Melanoplus grasshoppers:
Print References
Hebard, M. (1934). The Dermaptera and Orthoptera of Illinois. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 3: 125-279. (Biodiversity Heritage Library) (Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship)
Vickery, V. R. and D. K. McE. Kevan. (1986). The grasshoppers, crickets, and related insects of Canada and adjacent regions: Ulonata: Dermaptera, Cheleutoptera, Notoptera, Dictuoptera, Grylloptera, and Orthoptera. Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, 918 pp.(4) (Agriculture Canada) (PDF)
Works Cited
1.Orthoptera Species File Online
2.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
3.Field Guide To Grasshoppers, Katydids, And Crickets Of The United States
John L. Capinera, Ralph D. Scott, Thomas J. Walker. 2004. Cornell University Press.
4.The Insect and Arachnids of Canada. Part 14. The grasshoppers, crickets, and related insects of Canada and adjacent regions...
Vickery, V. R. and D. K. McE. Kevan. 1986. Biosystematics Research Institute, Agriculture Canada.