The three-banded grasshopper is one of our most attractively marked grasshoppers, with three sharply marked dark bands across the body. Although this is obviously a well-camouflaged insect, a closer look shows that the hind legs are quite colorful: the tibias (shin-like segments) are bright orangish red, and the inner sides of the femurs (thigh-like segments) are marked with deep blue.
Other key identifiers include a sharply defined diagonal line separating the dark middle band and the lighter outer portion of the hind femurs (on the outer side of each leg), and black antennae that are rather long.
The wings, when outstretched, are pale yellow with a dark brown border.
The overall color of this species varies with the color of the substrate. Populations living in areas with rust-colored soils are orangish, while those that live where the dirt is pale gray or tan blend in perfectly with those backgrounds.
Learn more about this and other short-horned grasshoppers on their group page.
Habitat and Conservation
The rise of facial recognition technology, its use in surveillance, and concerns about its potential for misuse have caused people worldwide to look for ways to conceal themselves from surveillance cameras. Some solutions, including avant-garde makeup techniques or portable lights, are based on the same idea as this grasshopper's camouflage: creating bold patterns of light and dark that confuse a computer's ability to sense and register the expected light-and-dark facial patterns of two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and a rounded face.
During World War I, British and American navy ships were painted in dazzle camouflage, bold black and white bars that similarly disrupted the enemy's ability to recognize the outlines of the ships and determine their heading and speed.