Adirondack for Kids: Be A Nature Detective Cricket vs. Grasshopper

By Diane Chase

My children can spend hours scouring the countryside for grasshoppers... or are they crickets? Well, it would depend on what time of the day it is. Here are just a few quick facts to help tell the difference.

Crickets are nocturnal (out at night) while the grasshopper is diurnal or out during the day.

Crickets have long antennae while a grasshoppers are shorter.

(Some people mistake Katydids for grasshoppers but the long antennae show they are more closely related to the cricket.)

free-range grasshopper
Crickets have flatter bodies than grasshoppers.

Grasshoppers are herbivores (yes and the cause for all the damage to my plants with their healthy plant-eating appetites) while the crickets are omnivores and will eat almost anything including plant decay, grass, seedlings and meat. 

Crickets have even been known to eat other crickets. Yuck! Tiny cannibals. 

grasshopper in captivity
Did you know people eat crickets, grasshoppers and other insects? Bugs have a protein content twice as high as beef and are used as a diet supplement. 

Next time my children go looking for grasshoppers, we can call it dinner. Hmmm... surprisingly my son declined.

*disclaimer:  I am not an entomologist (one who studies insects) but curious about bugs. No grasshoppers were harmed during this experiment but released back into the wild and most likely consumed by one of our many resident spiders. 

labels: kids in the Adirondacks, insect, nature detective, difference between crickets and grasshoppers.


Unknown said…
Do they both make annoying noises? Or is that just crickets? Inquiring minds want to know!
Unknown said…
Do they both make annoying noises? Or is that just crickets? Inquiring minds want to know!
Diane said…
Hi Jim!

Yes, some grasshoppers do make sound but it is usually the crickets we hear at night. The two also produce the sound differently. Crickets rub their wings together while some grasshoppers rub a wing against a back leg (stridulation) that has ridges on it. That is my unscientific version of it!
We've got a incredible number of grasshoppers this year, happily munching down on the garden. We don't have any children, but our youngest dog finds them endlessly facinating! He likes to see them jump.

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