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Why the long face?

April 17, 2021

A horse walks into a bar and the bar-tender says to him ‘Why the long face?’ This is one of the jokes I often use to liven up a party…NOT. But it does remind me of a grasshopper I have just observed whilst on my walk, a Giant Green Slantface (Acrida conica), pictured below.

Also known as the Long-headed Grasshopper, the Slantface is characterised by a conical shaped head and flat sword-shaped antennae. They come both with and without brown longitudinal stripes along the side of the body.

They are slow moving insects but have a number of defences that prevent them from easily being attacked by predators. The first is camouflage. In the grass on which it feeds it is very hard to detect, even if you know where it has flown. When in flight the grasshopper displays a red abdomen that serves as a warning to predators not to attack.

Like crickets, cockroaches and other related insects the Slantface lifecycle is one of incomplete metamorphosis i.e. the young instars look exactly like the adult (except they don’t have wings) and go through a series of moulting stages as they grow to big for their shells. Eventually the adult emerges and flies off.

Sort of like getting your P-plates in humans.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    April 24, 2021 10:49 am

    Nature is amazing!

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