Male and female admirable grasshoppers look very different from each other. The females are a bright, clear green and tan, and the males are brown or tan with blackish and pale yellow markings. An undulating pattern runs along the front edge of the forewing; this pattern is visible even when the wings are folded and is especially noticeable on females. This species has a very slanted face and long, slender hindlegs. The antennae are threadlike, and those of males have enlarged, somewhat clublike tips. Males are expert fliers, whereas females are weak fliers and prefer to hop.
Similar species: All grasshoppers in this genus have two lengthwise ridges on the pronotum (the collar-like section behind the head and before the wings), but only one other grasshopper in genus Syrbula occurs in North America north of Mexico; it lives in the southwestern United States and does not occur in Missouri.
Learn more about the admirable grasshopper and other members of the short-horned grasshopper family.
Length: to 1½ inches (males), to 2¼ inches (females)
Habitat and Conservation
This species prefers dry, grassy, weedy areas, especially disturbed places.
Adults and nymphs both feed on a wide variety of grasses and seeds.
Mating occurs in late summer or early fall. Eggs are deposited in masses in the soil, where they overwinter until the following spring.
Admirable grasshoppers can sometimes occur in large densities, but because they don’t confine themselves to particular types of plants and prefer disturbed areas, they are rarely significantly destructive to crops, rangeland, or gardens.
Grasshoppers are an important component in the food chain and provide nutrition to much of Missouri’s wildlife, including birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Large species of spiders, such as black-and-yellow-garden spiders, start out small and grow larger over the summer, just as their prey start out small and grow larger, allowing the adult spiders to be able to subdue adult admirable grasshoppers.