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Leichhardt’s Grasshopper: A Beautiful Bug To See

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Leichhardt’s grasshopper is a very unique grasshopper species that has a colorful body that you have never seen before. Well, we always talk about weird-looking animals that want to kill you in Australia. However, there is something nice too; something like a Leichhardt’s grasshopper. The cool thing about them is that they are the sign of the changing seasons in where they come from. Their colorful bodies are also very fascinating but there are more than that. Feel free to check out and learn more about this grasshopper below.

1Appearance

Leichhardt’s grasshoppers are quite large for grasshoppers with males growing up to around 5.3 centimeters and females 6 are about centimeters. Adults of both sexes have a bright orange-red body and face with blue patches on their head and thorax. Along with that, they also have black or very dark blue dappled spots on their abdomen and wings. There are two vertical dark blue stripes on each side, one directly below the eye and another pointing toward the thorax. The strange thing is that they have wings and can fly but they rarely fly, they jump around instead.

2Behavior

This beauty attracts both admirers and predators, and these grasshoppers have their own defense mechanism. Being bright is already a sign to show that they are dangerous but some hungry predators won’t take the hint. They can scare off their common predators by secreting a smelly brown substance that tastes horrible to other animals. This is one of the best ways to discourage other animals from feeding on them.

3Feeding & Habitats

While other grasshoppers enjoy the greens around them, Leichhardt’s grasshoppers are extremely picky with what they eat. Both nymphs and adults only feed on one thing, and that is the pityrodia shrubs. Pityrodia is a native evergreen shrub that contains bitter-tasting sugar compounds that help with the bug’s defense mechanism. Because of the limited food sources, they move very little and spend most of their time near the bottom of the plant. An individual may actually stay on a single bush for the rest of their life.

You will only get to see these unique grasshoppers in a few places in northern Australia, where they are endemic. Those areas are Kakadu National Park, West Arnhem Land, Nitmiluk National Park, and Keep River National Park on the Northern Territory’s western border. Leichhardt’s grasshoppers are more visible during the tropical summer, hanging out on pityrodia bushes. They are also found in grasslands, tropical forests, and woodlands where their primary food source is available.

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