Do Grasshoppers Have Wings? Can They Fly?

Haven’t we always wondered if grasshoppers have wings? They are usually found all over the world in different climates and territories.

Like every other insect, their body is made up of three body structures.

The head, the thorax and abdomen. And more significantly they are known to jump incredible heights and fly distances.

Do Grasshoppers Have Wings?

Most species of grasshoppers do have wings. They have two pairs of wings known as the fore wings and the hind wings. But not all grasshoppers have wings. These wings are used for flying for some distance, a few feet or more and then they land.

So, to fly, what grasshoppers do is they use their hind jumping legs as a booster to propel them into the air serving as a catapult for their flight and once in the air they spread their wings and begin to fly. This flight can go on for as long as twenty times the length of their body of few inches. Thereby, escaping their predators.

During the flight, especially in some species, these wings serve as a form of courtship display. These insects make audible  buzzing or clicking or clacking noise with their wings as they fly and this works very efficiently in attracting mates.

When grasshoppers make these sounds, they are said to stridulate and they do these by rubbing their hind legs against their fore wings which produce this sound.

Research have shown that there are special pegs on the internal aspect of the hind leg which helps in producing these unique sounds when they strike against the edge of the fore wings. So aside, flying and escaping their predators, grasshoppers also make use of their wings in attracting mates.

Now, as said earlier, most species of grasshoppers have wings and therefore can fly, while some other species do not have wings. These are called the wingless grasshoppers.

They do not develop wings. And interestingly, there is also another category of grasshoppers that have miniature wings which are very small in size which can’t function and they can’t use those wings to fly -These wings are called vestiges and can’t serve the function of flying whereas they can be useful in other aspects.

Some grasshoppers with miniature wings use these wings to cover some part of their back to prevent them from dessication or in some cases, these wings can also be used as a form of courtship display by generating sound by rubbing them together as explained in the earlier paragraph

Now, as I later found out in my research, the most interesting thing about grasshoppers isn’t necessarily the fact that they have wings, but the more profound and surprising facts surrounding its wings. These creatures are wonderful and very unique. So in subsequent paragraphs, I would be giving a detailed answer into many of the questions  that will most likely be on your mind.

When do grasshoppers get their wings? Do female grasshoppers have wings? What is the function and purpose of these wings in these female grasshoppers? Do baby grasshoppers have wings?

How do we describe these wings? Are they solid, transparent? These and many more are questions about grasshoppers and the mystery behind it’s wings and I found the answers amazing. As you follow me in this article, I would be giving you detailed answers to these questions to satisfy your curiosity.

Do Grasshoppers Have Wings
Grasshopper with wings

How many wings does a grasshopper have

Grasshoppers just like every other insect have a three body structure. The head, the thorax and the abdomen. The thorax has three fused segments that bear two pairs of wings and three pairs of legs.

With these three pairs of legs, which usually end as claws, they grip their prey especially the hind legs which are particularly powerful and they also use these legs as boosters or catapults to propel them during their flights.

So, grasshopper simply have two pairs of wings. The fore wings and the hind wings. The fore wings is popularly known as tegmina and they are usually described as leathery, tough and narrow while the hind wings are however, large, wide and membranous or transparent.

And they both help in their flight and courtship display.

Do all grasshoppers have wings

Most species of grasshoppers have wings and can fly very well, especially while using their hind legs as propellers or catapults to propel them into the air during which they spread their wings and begin to fly.

Some grasshopper species simply do not develop wings, while some have miniature wings called vestigial wings which can not serve the function of flying but can still help the grasshopper to protect it from dryness by covering its parts.

There are more than 18,000 species of grasshoppers. The most diverse superfamily is the Acridoidea family which has more than 8,000 species.

This superfamily can be divided into two main families, that is the Acrididae family which consists of grasshoppers and locusts and the Romaleidae which consists of lober grasshoppers. The Lentulidae, Lithidiidae and Pamphagidae families are found mainly African. Whereas the Ommexechidae and Tristiridae families are found in South American.

Many of the members of these families have wings except the Lentulidae family in which most of the family members are wingless There is also the family of grasshoppers which are native to Africa and can swim in water with their wings and legs called The Pauliniids family.

Do grasshoppers have transparent wings?

Grasshoppers have two pairs of wings. The fore wings and the hind wings. The fore wings is popularly known as tegmina and they are usually described as leathery, tough and narrow while the hind wings are however, large, wide and membranous or transparent.

So, Yes, grasshoppers have transparent wings which are the hind wings. And the tough, leathery fore wings usually protect the transparent hind wings while the grasshopper is at rest.

Making it difficult for an observer to take note of the transparent wings. But, yes, grasshoppers have transparent hind wings.

It is also important to note that the structure of these two pairs of wings is important in performing their functions. The transparency of the hind wings and their fan shape help in making the chief functions of the hind wings as major structure in flying.

Compared to the fore wings, research has shown that the hind wings contribute three times as much to flight of the grasshopper. Whereas the fore wings helps to protect the hind wing and direct the grasshopper during flights.

Why do grasshoppers have wings

Most species of grasshoppers use these wings to fly. This they do, after they are already in the air with the aid of their jumping legs. They, then spread their Wings to fly.

The hind wings is particularly known for this function while the fore wings apart frim protecting the hind wings while at rest, also help in balance during flight and directing the grasshoppers. And both pair of wings are well equipped for their respective functions.

Quite a number of grasshoppers also have miniature wings that are so reduced in size and therefore called vestigial wings which can not serve the function of flight. In this case, many of the grasshoppers use these wings to cover some parts of their body and thereby preventing then from dessication or drying out and I minute cases, these miniature wings can also serve as protection or armour.

And lastly, grasshoppers especially the male grasshoppers are known to  make noise with their wings, either to attract mates or to startle predators. Therefore, making the wings serve as a form of courtship display.

can grasshoppers fly?
Grasshoppers can indeed fly

Can Grasshoppers Fly and Do They Fly

Have you ever tried to catch a grasshopper ever before? Then you would have the knowledge of how far they can jump and fly just to run away from their predator. They can fly as long as twenty times their length. Believe me, as humans, if we could do that then we would be able to jump a football field.

So, yes, grasshoppers can fly and they do fly. And you know where the secret is? In their huge jumping legs and their wings. The interesting thing is many people are always under the illusions that they only jump and they can’t fly. Guess what? They do both. They jump and they fly. Now, let me explain.

When a predator comes and the grasshopper senses this predator, it prepares for a jump by contracting the flexor muscles and bending  its hind legs at the knee joint.

With the help of the cuticle within its knee which acts as a spring that stores potential energy, it catapults the grasshopper into the air. While at same time, the grasshopper relaxes its leg muscles to facilitate the jump. This jump therefore gives them a lift into the air and after which they spread their wings and begin to fly.

Interestingly, because of the powerful legs that they posses, people usually erroneously believe that they don’t have wings and they don’t fly. But in fact they do, and most grasshoppers are very strong fliers and they make use of their wings where needed.

And they fly for many reasons. Part of which is to run away from predators, and also to simply move from place to place. By flying, grasshoppers can migrate over long distance when the weather gets too uncomfortable for them and settle in better weather with the aid of their wings.

Grasshoppers can showcase their wings to attract mates!
Grasshoppers can showcase their wings to attract mates!

Functions of wings in grasshoppers

Grasshoppers use their wings for different functions- This includes, for flight purposes to run away from their preys and also for attracting their mates. But aside these, there are also other functions of wings in grasshoppers.

And a very important one is serving the beautiful function of camouflage. Some grasshoppers have these characteristics of having the same colour as the environment in which they exist. Grasshoppers with green colour in green fields is one of the most common type of camouflages by grasshoppers.

Also, some grasshoppers tend to have brilliantly-coloured wings which frighten or startle their predators when they jump into the air.

Some grasshoppers also use different methods to startle their predators. Their wings usually have deimatic patterns that a sudden flash of bright colours when they jump to the air. This may startle them long enough to give the grasshoppers enough time to escape.


Related Questions:

Do grasshoppers have wings that look like leaves?

The hind wing have sometimes been described to look like leaves because of their wide and large structure. So, tell hind wings in some species of grasshoppers look like leaves.

Do female grasshoppers have Wings?

Yes, female grasshoppers have wings just like their male counterparts which why also in flying especially while running away from their predators or to move from place to place.

Do baby grasshoppers have wings?

No, baby grasshoppers don’t have wings and this is what differentiates them from adult Grasshoppers.

When do Grasshoppers get wings?

Grasshoppers lifecycle usually consists of three stages. The egg the nymph and the adult. After the female grasshoppers lay pods containing several eggs, these eggs then later hatch to give the baby grasshopper, known as a nymph. But these baby grasshoppers don’t have wings.

But as a nymph grows in size, it will shed its skin about five or six times. But the nymph finally develops wings in order to become an adult grasshopper. So grasshoppers get wings when they develop from a nymph to adult Grasshoppers.