Once you see a cricket and grasshopper you will be able to distinguish them easily. These are the main differences between crickets and grasshoppers.
|Color||Brown, black (differs per species)||Green, brown (differs per species)|
|Chirping||Rubbing wings against each other||Rubbing hind leg against the fore-wing|
|Activity||Active during night||Active during day|
|Ovipositor||Long “tail”||Short “tail”|
|Antennae||Long (as long as body)||Short|
|Feeding Habits||Omnivorous (eats animals & plants)||Herbivorous (eats plants only)|
people usually do not differentiate a cricket from a grasshopper. Let‘s dig deeper to see what is a crickets, what is a grasshopper and what are their differences.
What Is a Cricket (Insect)
Cricket is an insect which belongs to Gryllidae family. Crickets are considered small to medium-sized insects. Fully grown cricket is around 1 inch size (2.5 cm). They have one easily distinguishable feature: crickets are jumping insects.
There are hundreds of different cricket species which may differ is size. For example, a house cricket (Acheta domesticus) is one of the most popular within cricket types. Its popularity spread because they are commonly found in all continents except Antarctica.
Crickets in nature usually live under rocks, logs in fields, grasslands, meadows, forests.
Crickets easily adapt if raised in captivity. Also, they don‘ require much maintenance and is a good protein source for your bearded dragon or other lizard. If you‘re interested, you can check out my post how to breed your own crickets at home here.
Crickets are very nutritious as food for humans. For a long time crickets were a delicacy in Eastern countries. Recently crickets as edible insects started being adopted in the Western countries. Cricket powder is being used more and more in Europe‘s and USA kitchens as well.
What is a Grasshopper
A grasshopper is an insect which belongs to Acrididae family. Grasshoppers same as crickets have easily distinguishable feature: grasshoppers are jumping insects.
There are hundreds of grasshopper species which have different characteristics. For the same of example, one of the most popular is Spur-Throaded Grasshopper. This grasshopper type can grow nearly to 2 inches (5 cm).
Generally, adult grasshopper is around 0.4-2.8 inches (1-7 cm). Some grasshoppers may reach 4.5 inches (11.5 cm) size when fully mature.
Grasshoppers live in open fields and meadows. Majority of grasshoppers can fly quite long distances.
Cricket vs Grasshopper: Anatomy
Crickets and grasshoppers are insects. Meaning, they both share same body structure. Crickets and grasshoppers have three main body parts.
Cricket vs Grasshopper: Body Structure
A cricket has 6 legs, a cylindrical body with a spherical head. Cricket has two long antennae arising from the from of the head. Antennae is usually long as the whole body. Also, some cricket types have wings. For example, Jerusalem cricket and camel cricket do not have wings.
A grasshopper has 6 legs, two pairs of wings and two antennae. Antennae is short. Comparatively, crickets‘ antennae is the length of its body.
Cricket vs Grasshopper: Breathing
Crickets and grasshoppers breathe through the holes in the abdomen.
NOTE: if you keep crickets or grasshoppers at home for your lizard, make sure you provide sufficient air ventilation to them. Insects are living beings, and sufficient air flow to them is crucial.
Cricket vs Grasshopper: Color
A house cricket type color is brown. Though, there are hundreds of cricket types, so colors may differ. For example, Jamaican cricket‘s color is black. Fun fact, from my experience while raising and breeding house crickets, I noticed that females after finishing laying the eggs for few days, slightly change their color from light brown to dark brown.
Depending on grasshopper type, grasshopper can be green, black brown or a mixture of those colors. The dominant color is green among grasshopper species.
Cricket vs Grasshopper: Wings
Not all cricket species have wings. A house cricket has 4 wings. Wings are used to rub against each other to make chirping sound (attract females; communicate with other crickets). Also, fully mature crickets use wings to jump and fly short distances to reach the light source faster.
Majority of grasshoppers are capable to fly. One of the popular grasshoppers which cannot fly is Meadow Grasshopper, because its wings are stunned. Grasshoppers, same as crickets, use wings to extend their jumping distance for a few feet (meters). Though, there are even some grasshoppers species which migrate during cold seasons to avoid cold weather.
Cricket vs Grasshopper: Gender
Cricket female from cricket male can be easily distinguishable, because only females have ovipositor at the end of abdomen which is used for eggs laying. Though, it can be noticed only when cricket is fully mature. Male crickets are smaller in size.
Female grasshopper‘s abdomen is straight with no curve. Respectively, male‘s abdomen is rounded and dips into a subtle curve before tampering at a slightly raised angle. Male grasshoppers are smaller comparing to female grasshoppers. Male grasshoppers are smaller in size.
Cricket vs Grasshopper: Life cycle
Both crickets and grasshoppers have 3 stages of growing.
It‘s called incomplete metamorphosis. In simple words, this term means that the nymph looks very similar to an adult fully mature insect, only a smaller version.
Crickets Life cycle
Female crickets deposits eggs into soil by using her ovipositor. In perfect conditions crickets hatch within 11 days.
Perfect conditions for crickets hatching is 100% humid soil and temperature around 86°F (30°C).
After hatching, born crickets look the same as mature crickets, just a smaller version.
Crickets mature within 36 days under perfect conditions. Perfect conditions for crickets to grow in nature is when temperature is 81°F (27°C) or above.
Cricket‘s body is covered with a hard exoskeleton. It means that when a cricket grows it has to molt when exoskeleton becomes too small. I own a commercial cricket farm and from my experience I’ve noticed that crickets take around 10 minutes to molt.
The close up view is really spectacular. Right after molting a cricket becomes white. It usually takes around 30 min to an hour until the final exoskeleton hardens and changes color to brown – final natural color of a mature cricket.
The interesting part is that after molting a cricket usually eats its own exoskeleton. It contains chitin, which is very nutritious and helps to get vitamins until the new exoskeleton forms.
Grasshopper Life cycle
Females grasshoppers hatch eggs into soil by using her ovipositor. A female usually lays 10-20 eggs at a time.
After eggs hatch, baby grasshoppers looks very similar to adult grasshoppers, just smaller. Within growing period grasshoppers shed their exoskeleton around 5-6 times before grasshopper fully matures. In comparison, crickets molt 7-8 times until full maturity.
Within 25-30 days from hatching a grasshopper fully matures under perfect conditional (i.e. warm enough environment).
A Lifespan of a grasshopper is around 12 months. Grasshopper could live longer if environment just right. However, insects‘ lifespan is usually very limited because they are perfect prey for majority birds, reptiles and ground animals . Also, insects don‘t have defense mechanisms to protect themselves from bigger predators.
Cricket vs Grasshopper: Diet
Crickets are omnivores. It means that crickets can eat plants and animals. Popular cricket food selection is fruit, grass, fungi, plants and even other crickets. Yes, crickets are cannibals, especially if their food doesn’t contains sufficient nutrients.
Actually, crickets will try to eat anything what appears in their surrounding. Their teeth are very sharp, so they can even eat through plastic sheet.
If you‘re interested to know more about what crickets like to eat, you can check my other post.
Grasshoppers are considered herbivorous insects. It means they eat only plants. As these insects are vegetarians, they usually prefer to eat grass and cereal plants.
Grasshoppers are living beings, so they need water. Though, grasshoppers don‘t drink water directly, but establish sufficient level of water through the plants they eat.
Cricket vs Grasshopper: Family Ties
Crickets and grasshoppers may feel as the same or similar because both chirp, live in the grass/trees and are insects. However, those are very general similarities which could be applied to many insects.
Scientifically, crickets are distantly related to grasshoppers. Both crickets and grasshoppers belong to the Orthoptera order. Orthoptera has over 25.000 species. This is the group where you can find grasshoppers, locusts and crickets. If to go further, crickets are part of Ensifera sub-order, whereas grasshoppers are part of Caeliferat sub-order.
Crickets belong Gryllidae family with over 4.800 species. Grasshoppers are part of Acrididae family with over 6.600 species.
Here you can find the whole tree and see how huge Orthoptera group is.
I hope this this post was detailed enough for you and when next time you will see a cricket or a grasshopper you will be able to easily distinguish which is which!
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