Thursday, May 20, 2010

Buggin' Out On Thursdays :: I'm Molting! A Metamorphosis.

Today is Buggin' Out On Thursdays and this little grasshopper's outer skin is the star of the show!

Did you know grasshoppers molted and left a perfectly intact outer casing of their former self hanging around?  I never really thought about it until I found this skin casing hanging upside-down from one of my flower's stem.

Not only was that interesting enough for me but I also noticed the actual baby grasshopper very close-by trying to hide from me and my camera:

After a little research I found out more than I ever wanted to know about the way these insects metamorphose into adult grasshoppers.
  • As insects grow and develop, they molt at intervals, changing structures and their form. This process is called metamorphosis.
  • A number of insects undergo gradual (simple) metamorphosis, such as grasshoppers. With this type of metamorphosis the insect that hatches looks like the adult except for its smaller size, lack of wings, fewer antennal segments, and rudimentary genitalia.
    • After shedding the serosal skin, the newly hatched nymph is called the first instar. After each molt the instar increases by one so that the nymph consecutively becomes a second, third, fourth, and fifth instar. When the fifth instar molts, the grasshopper becomes an adult, as called an imago.
    Now you know more than you ever wanted to about those darn grasshoppers who chomp on all your plants and garden vegetables!  You remember my bug butt post about those bugs stuck in the mud?  Well, here's a picture of another bug butt - this time in the form of a molted skin casing.

    What kind of bugs have you seen lately?

    1 comment:

    1. Great photos and education! I've probably seen those casings but didn't study them or guess they were from grasshoppers.