(picture taken by my older son)

 Yesterday my younger daughter and I went for a walk at Fort Steilacoom Park. We saw several pretty dragonflies flitting around. We also a lot of a type of bug that jumped in the air, flew for a short while, and then landed on the pathway in front of us or in the long grass nearby. When they were flying we could see their wings, but when they landed, well, they looked like grasshoppers. Thinking that grasshoppers might have wings, we decided that it would be good to look on Google or Wikipedia to verify whether or not they have wings.  I did a little research and indeed they do have wings!

I also needed to check out the difference between a cricket and a grasshopper to make sure we were seeing a grasshopper and not a cricket because I couldn't remember the difference between the two. I found that though they are related, they definitely have have a lot of differences.  Here are some reasons I feel sure that what we saw were grasshoppers (and not crickets):
  • The insects we saw had short antennae (crickets tend to have long antennae and grasshoppers have short ones -- their antennae are almost always shorter than their body)
  • It was daytime when we saw them (grasshoppers tend to be active during the daytime, but most crickets come out at dusk and are active at night)
  • They were flying quite a bit, and when they flew we could see the flash of their wings (in contrast, apparently crickets don't fly much and their wings are either atrophied or absent). 
Here is a picture of a grasshopper we saw yesterday:

Here is a picture of one taken a couple weeks ago (on 8/12/10).  It's smaller than the other one, and we didn't see it fly.  Maybe it was younger? It's also a completely different color than the one we saw yesterday.
    Editing to add a couple more pictures of what I think is the same type of grasshopper as seen above:

    I'm editing this to add a few pictures of one of the grasshoppers my older son and I saw today. Doesn't he have good camouflage?

    My older son took this next picture. It turned out so well! The picture at the very top is a close-up of this one.

    Here is really short video. You can see them flying a little bit:

    To find out more about grasshoppers, here are some websites to check out:
    Wikipedia: Grasshopper
    Howstuffworks: Grasshoppers
    Animal Corner: Grasshoppers
    EnchantedLearning: Grasshoppers
    BugGuide: Grasshoppers


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