Field Guide
Questions for Discussion

Crickets and Katydids

Green-legged Matchstick
Green-body Matchstick
Brown-striped Matchstick
Mottled Matchstick 
Common Pyrgomorph
Musgrave's Psednura
Green Grass Pyrgimorph
Diving Grasshopper
Creek Grasshopper
Garden Bermius
Common Gesonula
Rice Grasshopper
Beautiful Methiola
Little Black-knees
Bicoloured Cedarinia
Eastern Inland Cedarinia
Peakesia Grasshopper
Apotropina & Perbelliina 
Epallia Grasshopper
Cooloola Shortwing
Wingless Grasshopper 
Mimetic Gumleaf Ghopper
Black-kneed Gum leaf Ghopr
Slender Gumleaf Ghopper
Gumleaf Grasshopper
Common Pardillana
Common Adreppus
Pale Stem Grasshopper  
Bark-mimicking Ghopper I
Bark-mimicking Ghopper II
Macrotona & Maclystriina
Handsome Macrotona
False Perloccia
Green-legs Grasshopper 
Spur-throated Locust
Giant Grasshopper
Froggatt's Buzzer
Golden Bandwing
Giant Green Slantface
Long-legged Bandwing 
Yellow-winged Locust 
Creek Pygmy Grasshopper
Forest Pygmy Grasshopper 
Unidentified Ghoppers 


Giant Grasshoppers - The largest grasshopper - Valanga irregularis 

Family Acrididae

This page contains pictures and information about the Giant Grasshoppers that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.  
Giant Grasshoppers male and female 
The Giant Grasshoppers are the largest grasshoppers in Australia. They also commonly known as Giant Valanga and Hedge Grasshoppers. They are native to Australia. The adult size vary from 60-90mm. They are common in Brisbane bushes and backyards. We found these grasshoppers easily on every board leaf plants in our backyard. They eat almost all kinds of leaves. 
In the early morning, we usually found them sun-bathing on leaf. At that time they are slow-moving. After they have been warmed up, they jump and fly away quickly. Notice the spines on their hind legs, if they are caught by birds or by spider web, they will attack their predators by their hind legs.
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Their body colour and patterns are vary between individuals. Usually adults are greyish green and brown in colours with black dots pattern on forewings. The colours resemble the plant stem where they hide. 
Female, 90mm                                                     Female, 80mm                                                      Male, 60mm
The adults have four wings, the front wings, knows as tegmina, is tough and narrow when compare with the hind wings. At rest, the hind wings folded like a fans, covered and protected by the tegmina. Their hind wings is usually dark grey in colour, although some are colourless or light green. Their flight is mainly achieved by the broadly opened membranous hind wings. The tegmina will give only little or no effect.
The young grasshopper, or the nymph, are usually in flash green colour. They are not easily seen when they are feeding on the young leaves. 
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The nymph in the first picture, feeding on the red leaf plants, is very easily noticed by its predators, such as birds. However, after moulting, some of the grasshopper nymphs' body colour will charge to very close to their background environment.   
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The young grasshoppers look similar to the adults except they have no wings. Their size is 5mm for the first instar to 80mm for the last instar. The nymphs are also vary in colour, some brown or grey colours can be found although not as common as the flash green. Notice that the young nymph has the two dark marks on the top of the hind legs. The dark marks become lighter in colour in the later instar stages.  
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There are seven instar stages from hatch to mature adult. Each time they moult and then become the larger next instar stage. The last instars have wing buds but still cannot fly. Otherwise, look exactly as the adults. For both adults and nymph, their hind legs are highly developed, much stronger and larger than the other four legs. They are very good in jumping.  
They have large compound eyes and will see you meters away. If you approach near to them, they try to hide behind the leaf or branches, but will still peep at you by either one of their large eyes.
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For more information on insect body parts, please see the Insect Scientific Page
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The Giant Grasshoppers can do large damage to plantation. The first picture show a big hole on a leaf that the Giant Grasshopper consumed  within a morning. The second shows the grasshopper eating the flowers. They will feed on most kind of flash plant materials.
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They have strong mouth parts to cut the leaves from the edge. They are mostly solitary, but if condition is favour, such as in nurseries, they can be very large in number. They can be pest of shrubs and trees in gardens in Brisbane. Their close relative, within the same family, the Locust Chortoicetes terminifera is the famous plague which can build up in number, do big damages and migrate widely over Australia.
If you approach near to them, they hide behind the leaf or branches and hardly can be seen.
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Last instar Giant Grasshopper nymph
Body length 60mm
They have a single generation per year. Eggs are 5 mm in length and are laid in pods up to 90 mm deep in moist soil during early summer. The nymphs go through seven instars stages over a three months period. They become adults in late summer and autumn. We have taken some pictures to record their grow in one season. Notice that those pictures are taken in our back yard during the summer, they are not necessary the same grasshopper. Although they grew in about the same rate and about the same size. 
8mm 22/01/2001                                                 15mm 09/02/2001                                                30mm 18/02/2001   
60mm 21/03/2001                                               80mm 22/03/2001
The two pictures show the empty skin and the grasshopper just come out from its last moulting. The grasshopper is hanging on the plant and waiting for its wings to expand and dry. Notice the body colour is still pale in colour. 
80mm 27/03/2001                                               19/08/2001                                                           24/08/2001
Early spring - mating season.
After a few days, most part of the body changed to greyish green, the colour of an adult.
The adults grasshoppers hibernate during the winter (Australia mid-winter in July). Actually they are still active in winter, but not as active as in summer. They still feed on plants and come out for sun bathing during day time. But spend most of the time in hiding. 
Then the female will lay eggs in the soil. The young grasshoppers usually hatch with mid-summer rains, and than start the next generation. The grasshoppers mating ritual is nothing like are human customs of marriage and the exchange of tungsten wedding bands.
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8mm, 08/12/2001, the young Giant Grasshopper and its first meal. 
On early summer 2001, we saw the young Giant Grasshopper appeared on the plants in our backyard. On a 1 meter high plant, we easily found over 20 of them feeding on leaves. However, we also found a praying mantid and three Lynx Spiders hunting against them.  

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, p391.
2. Grasshopper Country - the Abundant Orthopteroid Insects of Australia, D Rentz, UNSW Press, 1996, p192.
3. A Guide to Australian Grasshoppers and Locusts - DCF Rentz, RC Lewis, YN Su and MS Upton, 2003, p339. 

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Last updated: January 27, 2013.