Nature Table: Grasshopper

There are five true species of grasshopper in Ireland, along with a few related groundhoppers and bush-crickets. 

Two of these species are associated with wetlands, the large marsh grasshopper with raised and blanket bog and the lesser marsh grasshopper with salt-marshes.

Two of them, the field grasshopper and the common green grasshopper, are associated with rough grassland and unkempt meadows and the fifth, the mottled grasshopper, straddles both habitats.

As their habitat has been reduced grasshoppers have also declined in numbers. The first indication of their presence if often their ‘singing’.

This is technically called stridulation and is not vocal --- the sound is produced by the insect rubbing its long hind legs against it forewings.

Stridulation is largely, though not entirely, confined to male insects and some species have quite a large vocabulary depending on whether they are involved in courtship, rivalry or communication.

Entomologists learn to identify species by the sounds they make.


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