Monday, June 12, 2006

Just A Cute Little Kid, A Baby Really

Grasshoppers start out as little tiny grasshoppers. They never go through a stage of being a little worm like thingie first. Their proportions change a bit as they grow, just like ours do, but they're unmistakenly grasshoppers. This cute little fellow on the drachenea plant in my back yard is less than 1/2 inch in length. As he grows up he'll attain a length of perhaps 3 inches after eating lots and lots of leaves. His hind legs, tiny at this stage, will get much larger in relation to his body, and he'll have sizeable wings under those wing covers on either side of his back. Yup, they can fly!

The mature lubber grasshopper is a tan colored insect, I suppose to better blend in with the dry end of season plants. I've heard that they really don't taste very good (I've never tried myself) but something must be eating huge quantities of them because there are an awful lot more of these cute little black ones early in the season than there are big tan ones at the end. Well there are plenty of birds around and several varieties of insect eating lizard, both native species and and pets that grew too big and people thought were being nice by letting them go free. As a result the Bahamian anole has about completely replaced our native "cameleon". It isn't really a chameleon, but it does have the ability to change from brown to green and back. The Bahamian species doesn't. You almost never see the native species anymore. (I never tried eating the anoles either.)


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