pallid grasshopper

Unless you have been traveling outside the southwest area of the United States you have heard about the great grasshopper invasion of 2019.  Las Vegas and other parts of Southern Nevada had an unusually wet spring and that led to the hoards of pallid-winged grasshoppers have infesting the valley as they migrate as far north as central Nevada from Laughlin and northern Arizona, agriculture officials said last week.

The pallid-winged grasshopper is a common grasshopper of the family Acrididae, native to the deserts of western North America along with South America, ranging from British Columbia to Argentina. The pallid-winged grasshoppers aren't dangerous: They don't bite or carry disease; however the insects, which may stay around for several weeks, have fascinated residents and tourists alike.

Las Vegas, like all of Nevada, has had almost twice as much rain in 2019 than normal -  the city has had 4.63 inches of rain to date -- much more than its usual average of 2.38 inches in the same period.

Since the grasshoppers will be here for a few weeks, here are a few facts about grasshoppers you can use to impress your family and friends:

Las Vegas grasshoppers swarm El Cortez

Grasshoppers can leap really far, relative to its size:They can jump about 20 times their body length (½ inch to 5 inches) horizontally and 10 times its body length vertically.

Grasshoppers’ eardrums are located beneath their wings on their abdomens.

Grasshoppers have five eyes: Grasshoppers have a large eye on either side of their head, each with thousands of lenses, allowing them to see in all directions. Grasshoppers also have three smaller eyes, one at the base of each antenna and one between the two antennae.

Grasshoppers are old, really old: Primitive grasshoppers appear in fossils from the Carboniferous Period, more than 300 million years ago.

Grasshoppers’ “music” isn’t melodic: Grasshoppers can hear and detect changes in intensity and rhythm of sounds, but they are unable to hear differences in pitch. Difference species of grasshoppers have distinct rhythms to the noise they make, allowing males and females to find partners from their own species.

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