|Differential Grasshopper- Melanoplus differentialis|
They eat a wide variety of plants, preferring ragweed and sunflowers, and grow faster when eating forbs (herbacaeous flowering plants) instead of grasses. Unfortunately, it tends to be gregarious and has a taste for eating out in agricultural crop fields with friends, lots of friends.
"The young will feed upon various grains, alfalfa and hay crops while the adults will attack the corn, cotton and deciduous fruit crops. A single swarm can often deplete a younger crop to nothing in a matter of a few days. Because this species has a tendency to stay in large swarms while eating, it is a serious issue for farmers in most of its range." Wikipedia
|Admirable Grasshopper- male|
It is a male admirable grasshopper, Syrbula admirabilis. The females are bright green with brown legs and abdomen, quite different from the male.
|Male Admirable- Shelly Cox, MDC|
|Female Admirable - Jon Rapp|
So what is so admirable about them? For one thing, their civilized behavior. They tend to congregate in weedy areas and thus don't compete with us for commercial food resources, staying politely in their own niche. They also are an important member of the food web, feeding a wide variety of insect predators.
Eats weeds and feeds wildlife - how much more admirable can a grasshopper get?