Rainbow Grasshopper Facts: These Beautiful Species Have Colors of the Rainbow

The rainbow grasshopper is a strikingly colorful insect. They have many names, but the “rainbow grasshopper” is the one that describes them most. Here are some exciting facts about this grasshopper species!

Rainbow grasshopper
Scientific name: Dactylotum bicolor
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Genus: Dactylotum

1. They’re colorful and beautiful

The rainbow grasshopper, commonly known as the colorful grasshopper, painted grasshopper, or barber pole grasshopper, is a grasshopper species. They are beautiful insects that come in a range of colors such as red, blue, yellow, and green.

These insects usually have a black body with yellowish and reddish markings. Their prothorax and wingtips are pale green. On the tibia of the back legs, there are six to eight spines. The color of the rainbow grasshoppers differs depending on where they live.

Cre: on pic

With these colors, the insects can easily blend into the harsh desert environment to avoid their larger predators. Their bright colors also send a message is warn off predators such as birds to keep away. This is because the majority of its predators find their coloration unattractive.

Unlike many other similar species on the planet, this arthropod lacks wings and hence they cannot fly.

Despite its amazing color and elegance, the grasshopper rainbow is very small in comparison to other related species. The females have an average size of 1.4 in (35 mm) in length, on the other hand, the males are smaller – about 0.8 in (20 mm). The adults weigh about 0.01 oz (0.28 g).

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2. They live in an extended area

These small species live in a wide range. They can be found throughout North America, southern Canada, and northern Mexico. In the US, they inhabit in New Mexico, Arizona, northern Mexico, and Texas.

These grasshoppers like arid grasslands and deserts with warm weather. They can be found in dry grasslands, short grass prairie, sparsely vegetated areas, alfalfa farms, and other similar habitats.

They spend much of their time in little burrows and hideouts, only coming out at night to feast on leaves. You can find them on rocks, under shrubs, and in shrubbery throughout the day.

3. Rainbow grasshoppers are voracious

The full grown rainbow grasshoppers are polyphagous, which means they graze on a variety of plants in their environment. They may consume grasses, alfalfa, corn, seeds, leaves, and flowers from various plants and shrubs, etc.

A rainbow grasshopper is eating leaves
There is no evidence that these grasshoppers are poisonous or harmful to people or animals.

Although the adult rainbow grasshoppers are not picky, their nymphs are. The nymphs frequently feed on a specific species that is native to the area. For example, the young rainbow grasshoppers in New Mexico and Arizona eat only Wright’s false willow (Baccharis wrightii).

4. Rainbow Grasshopper – Jigsaw Animal Puzzle

5. Life cycle

The painted grasshoppers spend most of their life being alone, except for the breeding season. These insects procreate in large numbers.

They are active from spring to the middle of fall. The males and females mate when summer transitions to fall.

After breeding, the female locates a suitable site in soft ground and forces her extended abdomen into the surface to lay a clutch of about 100 eggs. These eggs are coated in a sticky material that protects them while they are inactive underground during the winter.  

In spring or summer, the eggs hatch and start a new life cycle. Rainbow grasshoppers as well as other grasshopper species go through incomplete metamorphosis like orchid mantises. There is no pupa stage. The newly hatched grasshoppers (nymphs) look similar to the adults. When they grow older, their body will be bigger.

These barber pole grasshoppers only produce one generation per year. In warmer places, however, two generations can be generated in the same year.

The nymph of the rainbow grasshopper

It has been revealed that nymphs orient themselves according to the sun, positioning themselves around the bush to regulate their temperature. This allows them to keep their body temperature within a reasonable range.

The lifespan of the rainbow grasshoppers is about 1 year. In comparison to other creatures, this lifespan is average.

6. Conservation status

The IUCN Red List lists the conservation status of the rainbow grasshopper as Least Concern. It is unknown how many rainbow grasshoppers there are. However, their numbers are still enough to not be listed on the Red list.



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