How to tell a grasshopper from a cricket

  • The most visible difference between a grasshopper and a cricket is that crickets tend to have very long antennae while grasshoppers’ antennae are short.

[1] Roesel’s bush cricket with long antennae; [2] meadow grasshopper with short antennae;

  • Crickets rub their wings together to make a singing or chirping sound called stridulation. Grasshoppers stridulate by rubbing their long hind legs against their wings.
  • Grasshoppers have ears on their abdomens: a pair of membranes that vibrate in response to sound waves are located one on either side of their first abdominal segment. Crickets have ears on their front legs.
  • Most crickets are crepuscular, which means they come out at dusk; we have all listened to crickets singing while we pour the evening’s first glass of wine. Grasshoppers tend to be out and about during the daylight hours, particularly in the heat of a summer’s day.
  • Grasshoppers mostly eat grass, but crickets are omnivores, partial to small insects like aphids as well as plants.

[3] grasshopper eating maize; [4] aphids: cricket food.
The header picture: speckled bush cricket nymph by Suzanne Humphries.

Another post about the park’s Orthoptera:

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