|Olive-green Swamp Grasshopper|
|Communing with an Olive-green Swamp Grasshopper|
It's also a highly contagious behavior. Have you ever tried to catch a grasshopper? The only way to do it is to spring up and down as you chase after one. It's like you have to become the grasshopper in order to catch it. Maybe that's why I'm so fond of them, having cultivated an understanding with them through imitation. Well, that part is B.S., but I do envy them for their tremendous leaping ability and have no compunction about bounding after them no matter how silly I happen to look.
|Obscure Birdwing Grasshopper|
|Southern Greenstriped Grasshopper|
I will admit, however, that I'm a handsy naturalist. I hardly ever pass up the opportunity to study something up close, provided I can do it without risking the health of myself, the habitat, or the object itself. And looking through our recent photos, I seem to have a particular fascination with grasshoppers. Can you blame me -- they're just crazy-looking!
Look at this fella, for instance. The Eastern Lubber Grasshopper (Romalea guttata) is enormous (by grasshopper standards), sporting 90's-era neons of pink, yellow, and orange, and covered in armor. It also has a number of defense mechanisms, such as the ability to produce a noxious, foamy spray when it feels threatened (we were fast friends, though, so he didn't even think of using it on me). The lubber is master of his grassy domain by any standard.
|Eastern Lubber Grasshopper|
The large size of grasshoppers, and the relative ease (or at least fun) of taking them in the hand, make them a great study. I haven't begun a life list for them yet, but I think I may, as we get to know Savannah better, and as I better learn to identify local varieties. But you can bet that I'll be doing a good amount of hopping until then.