Admirable Grasshopper

Syrbula admirabilis

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Admirable Grasshopper on grass stem
Male and female admirable grasshoppers look quite different: Males are smaller than females and are brown, black, and tan. Females are larger and greener.
Donna Brunet
Other Common Name
Handsome Grasshopper; Slant-Faced Grasshopper
Family

Acrididae (short-horned grasshoppers) in the order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, katydids, crickets)

Description

Male and female admirable grasshoppers look very different from each other. The females are a bright, clear green and tan, and the males are brown or tan with blackish and pale yellow markings. An undulating pattern runs along the front edge of the forewing; this pattern is visible even when the wings are folded and is especially noticeable on females. This species has a very slanted face and long, slender hindlegs. The antennae are threadlike, and those of males have enlarged, somewhat clublike tips. Males are expert fliers, whereas females are weak fliers and prefer to hop.

Similar species: All grasshoppers in this genus have two lengthwise ridges on the pronotum (the collar-like section behind the head and before the wings), but only one other grasshopper in genus Syrbula occurs in North America north of Mexico; it lives in the southwestern United States and does not occur in Missouri.

Size

Length: to 1½ inches (males), to 2¼ inches (females)

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Photo of a female admirable grasshopper
Admirable Grasshopper (Female)
Female admirable grasshoppers are large and marked with bright green and tan, and the males are smaller and drabber.

admirable_grasshopper_male_12-16-11.jpg

Image of a male admirable grasshopper.
Admirable Grasshopper (Male)
Admirable grasshopper prefer dry, grassy, weedy areas, especially disturbed places.
Habitat and conservation

This species prefers dry, grassy, weedy areas, especially disturbed places.

Foods

Adults and nymphs both feed on a wide variety of grasses and seeds.

image of Admirable Grasshopper Distribution Map
Distribution in Missouri

Statewide.

Life cycle

Mating occurs in late summer or early fall. Eggs are deposited in masses in the soil, where they overwinter until the following spring.

Human connections

Admirable grasshoppers can sometimes occur in large densities, but because they don’t confine themselves to particular types of plants and prefer disturbed areas, they are rarely significantly destructive to crops, rangeland, or gardens.

Ecosystem connections

Grasshoppers are an important component in the food chain and provide nutrition to much of Missouri’s wildlife, including birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Large species of spiders, such as black-and-yellow-garden spiders, start out small and grow larger over the summer, just as their prey start out small and grow larger, allowing the adult spiders to be able to subdue adult admirable grasshoppers.