Florida is home to around 70 species of grasshoppers. While many of these species are difficult to find and even endangered, some species are easy to spot on sidewalks and in backyards! This article covers seven of the more common species of grasshoppers in Florida.
Depending on the types of habitats you find yourself in, you may not spot all seven of these. However, if you explore several different regions of Florida, you’ll be likely to come across most of the common grasshopper species.
7 common grasshoppers in Florida
Here are 7 species of grasshoppers that you could come across in the state of Florida.
1. American Bird Grasshopper
Scientific name: Schistocerca americana
The American bird grasshopper is among the most destructive insects in Florida. They will eat through most crop fields, trees, and vegetables, making for every gardener and farmer’s worst nightmare.
The destruction is further caused by the fact that this grasshopper can fly. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to find them both in short vegetation and up in trees.
When these grasshoppers are young, they’re usually green; however, their coloration shifts to orange when they’re in large groups. While most of their body will be either of those colors, their legs tend to have black or brown markings.
2. Southern Lubber Grasshopper
Scientific name: Romalea guttata
The southern lubber is the most well-known grasshopper in Florida. In part because it’s large, making it easy to spot. However, this grasshopper is also prolific and often resides in the same areas as humans.
This species can be seen in backyards, on sidewalks, and in vegetable gardens. Unfortunately, this grasshopper is also known to be a bit of a pest to crops and gardens.
You can identify this species by its bright yellow coloration. Generally, this grasshopper will have some black patterning on their yellow body; however, they can be entirely yellow in some cases.
Although the southern lubber is harmless, it does make a hissing noise when threatened or handled. If it’s stressed out, it can even froth around the mouth as a defense mechanism. It’s not recommended to handle this insect if you come across it in your garden.
If you use insecticides to manage these grasshoppers, you likely won’t have any luck. This particular species is tough to kill with chemicals.
However, with the introduction of insecticides, you may end up killing important insects that keep your garden healthy and pollinated. Therefore, this method of dealing with grasshoppers is not recommended.
3. Wrinkled Grasshopper
Scientific name: Hippiscus ocelete
The wrinkled grasshopper is a grass-feeding insect that you’ll mostly be able to find in pastures. The insect is more prevalent in north Florida and is considered a pest for most farmers. The wrinkled grasshopper will eat through pastures and fields, which can damage crops.
It can be challenging to see these grasshoppers as they generally blend in with their environment very effectively. With yellow and brown coloration, they can camouflage into grasses and tree bark. If you’re trying to differentiate this species from another, look to the wings. The hind wings are a yellow or rose color with a thick band across them, and the band is generally a dark brown to black color.
4. Obscure Grasshopper
Scientific name: Schistocerca obscura
This grasshopper species is in the “bird” grasshopper group, named for their strong ability to fly. Much like some other similar species, the obscure grasshopper likes to feed on flowers like hibiscus. This can cause some conflict between them and humans if the insects find themselves in gardens.
You’re likely to find a few of these in your Florida yard if you grow an abundance of flower species; however, you may confuse this species with the rusty bird grasshopper because they’re very similar in appearance. To identify this grasshopper, look for a mostly green insect with brown wings.
If you’re comparing the two species, the obscure will be larger than the rusty bird. Since the obscure grasshopper is relatively large and hangs out on leaves, it easily blends into its environment.
5. Southern Red-legged Grasshopper
Scientific name: Melanoplus propinoquus
The southern red-legged grasshopper is among the most common in weedy areas. This is a species you’re likely to come across fairly often in Florida in disturbed landscapes, like backyards.
If you’re an avid gardener or farmer, this is a species you’re likely to run into and have some conflict with. This species goes through two generations per year, making them relatively prolific around the state.
6. Southern Green-striped Grasshopper
Scientific name: Chortophaga australior
The southern green-striped grasshopper is common in areas with less vegetation. If you’re in a region of Florida with more bare soil, this is the species you’ll come across most often. This flying species makes a slight crackling noise with its wings when in flight, which is a good indication that they’re in the region.
This species can be either brown or green with a smoky gray wing. This coloration is relatively common in grasshoppers so you’ll best identify this species by ensuring you’re in its ideal ecosystem. This is one of the only ways to rule out other species.
7. Green Slant-faced Grasshopper
Scientific name: Dichromorpha viridis
This species is also known as the short-winged green grasshopper. These grasshoppers are only found in the eastern United States and reside in pastures, grasses, wooded areas, and fields. Anywhere you can find knee-high grass, you’re likely also to see these grasshoppers.
Identifying this species can be challenging because they closely resemble the elegant grasshopper. However, the elegant has a larger head and is much less common to spot in Florida. Therefore, if you’re unsure which species you’ve come across, you’ve likely come across the green slant-faced.
Unlike many species, this grasshopper is sexually dimorphic, meaning the females are larger than the males and have different coloring. The female insect has minor color variation, whereas the male is either brown or green.