Large Egyptian Grasshopper Found in Salad

19 Nov

Drusillas Park’s spider and insect expert Angela Hale welcomed a special visitor to the zoo this week after receiving a phone call from the RSPCA. They had been contacted by a member of the public who had discovered a large insect in a bag of salad and wondered whether Drusillas could provide the unusual foreigner with a suitable home.Angela Hale with the Grasshopper

On closer inspection Angela confirmed that the insect was an Egyptian grasshopper, easily identified due to the vertical striped pattern of their eyes. The size and shape of the shield that protects their head is also unlike other species. 

In the wild, Egyptian grasshoppers are found on various plants, trees and shrubs throughout southern Europe, where they are relatively common. They prefer warm, dry areas and feed on a variety of leaves.

Measuring approximately 6.5cm the grasshopper was almost certainly a female, as males are slightly smaller at around 3.5cm in length. The grasshopper was fully grown displaying adult colouration, which is generally grey or brown providing excellent camouflage when against tree bark. It also had fully developed wings; these insects are able to fly as well as use their strong back legs to jump. At rest, the wings fold along the body.

Angela commented: “To discover a grasshopper in this way is incredibly unusual and although it may give someone a bit of a shock, these insects are completely harmless. The grasshopper is in excellent health and settling into her new home, where we hope she will be very happy.”

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