LEPROUS GRASSHOPPER

I can remember having to annotate sketches of grasshoppers while in primary school, firstly identifying the head, thorax, abdomen, wings and legs. Later on the latter had to be annotated further to include the femur, tibia and tarsus. I loved the sound of the name tarsus.  These milkweed grasshoppers, Leprous grasshoppers (Phymateus leprosus), were very common and we often used to catch them – then quickly let them go as they exuded an unpleasant foam, doubtless for protection.

Seeing this one recently brought those primary school memories right back as if it were yesterday. What always fascinated me about these grasshoppers is the green saddle-shaped pronotum with two large bumps for it looks like serious armoured plating. Equally ferocious looking are the double rows of spines on the tibia. Even the knees of this grasshopper look armour plated!

Note: Click on the photograph if you wish a larger view.

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