Is a locust a grasshopper? What is the difference between a grasshopper and a locust?

There have been confusions about differences and similarities between locusts and grasshoppers. For a lot of people, these insects are the same.

So, is that the case? Is there a difference between grasshoppers and locusts?

This is the main focus of our discussion.

Here, we seek to make comparisons that highlight the differences and similarities between the two.

This is vital for pest control purposes. Both of these insects are known to feed on vegetation. However, their behaviors are quite different.

It will be necessary to understand what you’re dealing with to get the best possible result from your pest control effort.

Locust And Grasshopper: Points of Comparison

Are grasshoppers locusts?

When it comes to differentiating locusts from grasshoppers, different points of comparison are used.

These range from the physical characteristics, behavior, body size, color, distance traveled, type of vegetation fed on, as well as the level of damage caused.

In the sections that follow, we’ll be highlighting each of these distinctions and more between locusts and grasshoppers.

By the end of our discussion, you shouldn’t have any problems telling a locust apart from a grasshopper. This enables you to provide tailored solutions to all your pest issues.

Difference Between Grasshopper and Locust

Are locusts grasshoppers?

As mentioned earlier, different points of comparison will be used to distinguish between locusts and grasshoppers.

They include preferred habitat, lower classification, distance traveled, physical characteristics, body size, color, behavior, diet, type of movement, and several families.

  • Preferred Habitat

When it comes to the types of habitat they live in, there are clear distinctions. For locusts, just about any location will do. Of course, such locations must have an ample supply of vegetation.

In other words, locusts have no particular or preferred habitat. Does this apply to the grasshopper? Not exactly!

Unlike locusts, grasshoppers have a clear preference for certain habitats over others. You’re likely to find grasshoppers in fields or meadows.

However, this isn’t always the case as grasshoppers can be found in other locations as long as there’s food or vegetation to munch on.

  • Lower Classification

A system of classification is used for all living creatures to allow for easy identification. For locusts and grasshoppers, the lower levels of the classification show clear differences.

Locusts belong to the suborder Caelifera while grasshoppers belong to the family Acrididae.

  • Distance Travelled

Another yardstick used for differentiating locusts from grasshoppers is the distance traveled.

By nature, every insect has a coverage area they typically cover. While some have a limited coverage area, others go farther than others.

In the case of locusts, these destructive creatures tend to fly for longer distances compared to their lookalike counterparts; grasshoppers. Grasshoppers only fly short distances

  • Physical Characteristics

How does a locust look different from a grasshopper?

One of the primary ways to tell a locust from a grasshopper is by looking at its physical characteristics. To the untrained eye, both will be considered the same. You’ll have to know what features set them apart.

Locusts have longer and stronger wings compared to grasshoppers.

You’ll find locusts in different color variations like green, dark-yellow, or brown. Grasshoppers on the other hand have green, brown, or grey colorations.

These insects often blend into the color of their surroundings.

  • Body Size

Body size is one way you can easily distinguish between locusts and grasshoppers. Locusts tend to be smaller in size. The body size says a lot when observing for clues on what you’re dealing with.

Compared to locusts, grasshoppers tend to have larger body sizes.

The larger body size of grasshoppers has been attributed to the ravenous nature of their feeding. Grasshoppers can eat up around 5 times their body weight in a single day.

So, does this make locusts less dangerous? Not at all!

  • Color

We’ve earlier made brief mention of the varying body colorations between locusts and grasshoppers. Body colorations of locusts range from pink, dark-yellow, brown, and green.

For grasshoppers, the color variations are a bit different as they range from olive green, brown, as well as grey coloring.

Grasshoppers tend to blend in easily to their surroundings. From the color distinctions mentioned above, you’ll observe that there are locusts and grasshoppers with green body coloring too.

So, how do you go about distinguishing between them?

You’ll have to check other bodily features.

  • Behavior

Initially, locusts begin their life as solitary herbivores.

Eventually, they meet up to fly in large groups. This switch from solitary to social behavior is attributed to serotonin which is a brain chemical responsible for swarming behavior.

Grasshoppers do not live in swarms. They remain solitary all through their life. Despite their voracious appetite, grasshoppers tend to cause less damage to vegetation compared to locusts that live in swarms.

Nevertheless, the presence of these creatures still poses problems for gardeners and farmers.

  • Diet

One similarity between locusts and grasshoppers is that they’re herbivorous.

Despite this similarity, locusts are more likely to feed on crops and vegetation while grasshoppers feed mainly on grass. In the absence of a suitable diet, these pests will make do with what’s available.

In this situation, available will include other types of vegetation. For instance, a grasshopper will feed on crops and vegetation in the absence of grasses.

  • Type of Movement

We earlier stated that locusts fly longer distances than grasshoppers.

However, what was left out was information on the type of movement. Speaking of movement type, locusts are known to both hop and fly. This helps them with getting to food as well as with swarming.

For grasshoppers, the only type of movement is hopping. This is seen in their name. They’re excellent hoppers and hardly do more than that in terms of movement.

  • Number of Families

The number of families also matters to our discussion.

Unlike locusts that belong to a single-family, grasshoppers have a larger number of families. There are about 28 distinctive grasshopper families.

Getting Rid of A Locust or Grasshopper Problem

For many, locusts tend to be the bigger problem as their presence becomes worrisome due to their likelihood to attack plants and vegetation.

With the information above, you’re able to identify the problem you’re faced with and take urgent measures towards getting rid of grasshoppers or locusts.

Now that you’ve learned about similarities and differences between locusts and grasshoppers, you can easily apply the best control strategies that help resolve the problem.

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