We watched a grasshopper dissection video in my bio class, and it turns out that grasshopper sex identification is pretty easy just looking at them visually! I thought I would share the knowledge.
Sex determination tutorial: https://www.wikihow.com/Determine-the-Sex-of-a-Grasshopper#:~:text=Looking%20at%20the%20grasshopper’s%20abdomen,the%20grasshopper%20is%20a%20male.&text=Note%20that%20a%20female%20grasshopper,abdomen%20looks%20like%20a%20tube.
I looked at some of my grasshopper observations to apply this new knowledge. I think this one is female based on the tapered posterior and spikes of the egg depositor(?). Any grasshopper lovers who can tell me if I am right?
Very interesting information for sure. When you mean grasshoppers, are you specifically talking about Acrididae? For related orthopteran families, eg. Tettigoniidae, I believe (though not confident on that claim) the females can be identified by their elongated, curved ovipositor. In terms of taking photos in the field, I happen to notice that for many cases their resting posture is such that their wings block the abdomen tip.
To be honest, the class video didn’t specify taxon so I’m not sure. And agreed, most of my grasshopper pics don’t include the tip of the abdomen, but some do. I was never trying to get that specific feature, either, though.
Agreed, I certainly did not know about that trait, so I too wasn’t actively trying to have photos of the abdomen tip. But it definitely can be a useful bonus.
Great question. Had to read some dusty grasshopper books. For acrids (short-horned) like slantfaced, band-winged and spurthroats, a very loose rule is the male has a shorter abdomen and the male is more often smaller overall, though that doesn’t help if you just have one in front of you.
As mentioned, the reproductive parts at the end of the abdomen. For the listed groups with small ovipositors, you can still see that structure if you look closely, with 2 small rearward facing points for females. You would either need to catch it or get a good closeup shot.
Otherwise dimorphism is the rule for these groups. Different color markings give gender away. You’d need a book with good diagrams. There aren’t many easy to use books/guides for ghoppers.
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