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How Do Grasshoppers Produce Sound?

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Question: How Do Grasshoppers Produce Sound?

Grasshoppers, and orthopterans in general, produce sounds to attract mates or protect their territories. Grasshoppers can be identified by their unique songs, which differ slightly from species to species. Unlike their cricket cousins, though, grasshoppers do not rub their wings together to make noise. How do grasshoppers produce sounds?

Answer:

Male grasshoppers produce sounds to attract a female mate. Grasshoppers make sounds in one of two ways – stridulation or crepitation.

Stridulation involves rubbing one body part, which acts as a rasp, against another, which acts as a scraper. Most grasshoppers stridulate to make their characteristic sounds. In grasshoppers, a row of pegs along the inside of the hind leg acts as a file, or rasp. The grasshopper rubs this leg surface against the thickened forewing, causing a vibration and thus a sound.

A few grasshoppers, most notably some band-winged grasshoppers in the family Oedipodinae, use an entirely different method of sound production, called crepitation. These grasshoppers snap their hindwings rapidly as they fly, making a distinct crackling sound.

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