Orthoptera: Wikis


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Fossil range: 359–0 Ma
Patanga japonica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Neoptera
(unranked): Exopterygota
Superorder: Orthopteroidea
Order: Orthoptera
Latreille, 1793
Extant suborders and superfamilies

Suborder Ensifera

Suborder Caelifera

  • Tridactyloidea
  • Trigonopterygoidea

The Orthoptera are an order of insects with paurometabolous or incomplete metamorphosis, including the grasshoppers, crickets and locusts. Many insects in this order produce sound (known as a "stridulation") by rubbing their wings against each other or their legs, the wings or legs containing rows of corrugated bumps. The tympanum or ear is located in the front tibia in crickets, mole crickets, and katydids, and on the first abdominal segment in the grasshoppers and locusts.[1] These organisms use vibrations to locate other individuals.

Grasshoppers are able to fold their wings, placing them in the group Neoptera.



The name is derived from the Greek ortho meaning straight and ptera meaning winged.


Orthopterans have a generally cylindrical body, with hind legs elongated for jumping. They have mandibulate mouthparts and large compound eyes, and may or may not have ocelli, depending on the species. The antennae have multiple joints, and are of variable length.[1]

The first and third segments of the thorax are enlarged, while the second segment is much shorter. They have two pairs of wings, which are held overlapping the abdomen at rest. The forewings, or tegmina, are narrower than the hindwings and hardened at the base, while the hind wing is membranous, with straight veins and numerous cross-veins. At rest, the hindwings are held folded fan-like under the forewings. The final two to three segments of the abdomen are reduced, and have single-segmented cerci.[1]

Life cycle

Orthopteroid species have a paurometabolous life cycle or incomplete metamorphosis. The use of sound is generally crucial in courtship, and most species have distinct songs.[2] Most grasshoppers lay their eggs in the ground or on vegetation. The eggs hatch and the young nymphs resemble adults but lack wings and at this stage are often called hoppers. They may often also have a radically different coloration from the adults. Through successive moults the nymphs develop wings until their final moult into a mature adult with fully developed wings.[1]

The number of moults varies between species; growth is also very variable and may take a few weeks to some months depending on food availability and weather conditions.

Orthoptera as food

The Orthoptera are the only insects considered kosher in Judaism. The list of dietary laws in the book of Leviticus forbids all flying insects that walk, but makes an exception for the locust.[3] The Torah states the only kosher flying insects with four walking legs have knees that extend above their feet so that they hop.[4] This suggests that non-jumping orthoptera such as mole crickets are not kosher.


  • Suborder Ensifera
  • Suborder Caelifera — grasshoppers, locusts
    Teratodus monticollis Hooded Grasshopper
    • Infraorder Acrididea
      • Superfamily Acridoidea
        • Acrididae — grasshoppers, locusts
        • Charilaidae
        • Dericorythidae
        • Lathiceridae
        • Lentulidae
        • Lithidiidae
        • Ommexechidae
        • Pamphagidae — toad grasshoppers
        • Pyrgacrididae
        • Romaleidae
        • Tristiridae
      • Superfamily Eumastacoidea
        • Chorotypidae
        • Episactidae
        • Eumastacidae
        • Euschmidtiidae
        • Mastacideidae
        • Morabidae
        • Promastacidae†
        • Proscopiidae
        • Thericleidae
          Proscopiid from the Andes of Peru
      • Superfamily Locustopsoidea†
        • Araripelocustidae†
        • Bouretidae†
        • Eolocustopsidae†
        • Locustavidae†
        • Locustopsidae†
      • Superfamily Pneumoroidea
        • Pneumoridae — bladder grasshoppers
      • Superfamily Pyrgomorphoidea
        • Pyrgomorphidae — gaudy grasshoppers
      • Superfamily Tanaoceroidea
        • Tanaoceridae
      • Superfamily Tetrigoidea
      • Superfamily Trigonopterygoidea
        • Trigonopterygidae
        • Xyronotidae
    • Infraorder Tridactylidea
      • Superfamily Dzhajloutshelloidea†
        • Dzhajloutshellidae†
      • Superfamily Regiatoidea†
        • Regiatidae†
      • Superfamily Tridactyloidea

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Hoell, H.V., Doyen, J.T. & Purcell, A.H. (1998). Introduction to Insect Biology and Diversity, 2nd ed.. Oxford University Press. pp. 392–394. ISBN 0-19-510033-6. 
  2. ^ Imes, Rick (1992), The practical entomologist, Simon and Schuster, pp. 74-75, ISBN 0671746952, http://books.google.com/books?id=SHHQVehP488C&pg=PA74 
  3. ^ Gordon, David George (1998), The eat-a-bug cookbook, Ten Speed Press, pp. 3, ISBN 0898159776, http://books.google.com/books?id=sI0Zax6ljq8C&pg=PA3 
  4. ^ Navigating the Bible: Leviticus, http://bible.ort.org/books/pentd2.asp?action=displayanchor&pentid=P3008 

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

'ORTHOPTERA (Gr. 606s, straight, and irrepOv, a wing), a term used in zoological classification for a large and important order of the class Hexapoda. The cockroaches, grasshoppers, crickets and other insects that are included in this order were first placed by C. Linne (1735) among the Coleoptera (beetles), and were later removed by him to the Hemiptera (bugs, &c.). J. C. Fabricius (1775) was the first to recognize the unnaturalness of these arrangements, and founded for the reception of the group an order Ulonata. In 1806 C. de Geer applied to these insects the name Dermaptera (SEpµa, a skin, and irmEpOv); and A. G.

Olivier subsequently used for the assemblage the name Orthoptera, which is now much better known than the earlier terms. W. Kirby (1815) founded an order Dermaptera for the earwigs, which had formed part of de Geer's Dermaptera, accepting Olivier's term Orthoptera for the rest of the assemblage, and as modern research has shown that the earwigs undoubtedly deserve original separation from the cockroaches, grasshoppers, crickets, &c., this terminology will probably become established. W. E. Erichson and other writers added to the Orthoptera a number of families which Linne had included in his order Neuroptera. These families are described and their affinities discussed in the articles Neuroptera and Hexapoda (qq.v.). In the present article a short account of the characters of the Dermaptera and Orthoptera is given, while for details the reader is referred to special articles on the more interesting families or groups.

The Dermaptera and the Orthoptera agree in having welldeveloped mandibles, so that the jaws are adapted for biting; in the incomplete fusion of the second maxillae (which form the labium) so that the parts of a typical maxilla can be easily made out (see the description and figures of the cockroach' g. jaws under Hexapoda); in the presence of a large number of excretory (Malpighian) tubes; in the firm texture of the forewings; in the presence of appendages (cerci) on the tenth abdominal segment; and in the absence of a metamorphosis, the young insect after hatching closely resembling the parent.

Order Dermaptera. In addition to the characters just enumerated, the Dermaptera are distinguished by the presence of small but distinct maxillulae (fig. 2, see Hexapoda, Aptera) in association with the tongue (hypopharynx); by the forewings when present being modified into short quadrangular elytra without nervuration, the complex hindwings (fig. I) being folded beneath these both longitudinally and transversely so that nearly the whole abdomen is left uncovered; and by the entirely mesodermal nature of the genital ducts, which, according to the observations of F. Meinert, open to the exterior by a median aperture, the terminal part of the duct being single, either by the fusion of the primitive paired ducts or by the suppression of one of them. In the vast majority of winged insects the terminal part of the genital system (vagina and ductus ejaculatorius) is unpaired and ectodermal. Thus the condition in the Dermaptera is more primitive than in any other Pterygote order except the Ephemeroptera (Mayflies) which are still more generalized, the primitive mesodermal ducts (oviducts and vasa deferentia) opening by paired apertures as in the Crustacea. In the vast majority of the Dermaptera the cerci are - in the adult insect at least - stout, unjointed appendages forming a strong forceps (fig. I) which the insect uses in arranging the hindwings beneath the elytra. In at least one genus the unjointed pincers of the forceps are preceded, in the youngest instar by jointed cerci. Very many members of the order are entirely wingless.

There are two families of Dermaptera. The Hemimeridae include the single genus Hemimerus, which contains only two species of curious wingless insects with long, jointed cerci, found among the hair of certain West African rodents. The other family is that of the Forficulidae or earwigs (q.v.), all of which have the cerci modified as a forceps, while wings of thecharacteristic form described above are present in many of the species.

Order Orthoptera. The bulk of de Geer's " Dermaptera " form the order Orthoptera of modern systematists, which includes some Io,000 described species. The insects comprised in it are distinguished from the earwigs by their elongate, rather narrow forewings, which usually cover, or nearly cover, the abdomen when at rest, and which are firmer in texture than the hindwings. The hindwings have a firm costal area, and a more delicate anal area which folds fanwise, so that they are completely covered by the forewings when the insect rests. Rarely (in certain cockroaches) the hindwing undergoes transverse folding also. Wingless forms are fairly frequent in the order, but their relationship to the allied winged species is evident. The female of the common cockroach (fig. 3a) shows an interesting vestigial condition of the wings, which are but poorly developed in the male (fig. 3b). More important characters of the Orthoptera than the nature of the wings - characters in which they differ from After Marlatt, Ent. Bull. 4, n. s. U.S. Dept. Agr.

FIG. 3. - Common Cockroach (Blatta orientalis); a, female: b, male; c, female (side view); d, young. Natural size.

the Dermaptera and agree with the vast majority of winged insects - are the absence of distinct maxillulae and the presence of an unpaired ectodermal tube as the terminal region of the genital system in both sexes. The cerci are nearly always joined, and a typical insectan ovipositor with its three pairs of processes is present in connexion with the vagina of the female. In many Orthoptera this ovipositor is very long and conspicuous (fig. 5). Information as to the internal structure of a typical orthopteron - the cockroach - will be found under Hexapoda.

Classification. - Six families of Orthoptera are here recognized, but most special students of the order consider that these should be rather regarded as super-families, and the number of families greatly multiplied. Those who wish to follow out the classification in detail should refer to some of the recent monographs mentioned below in the bibliography. There is general agreement as to the division of the Orthoptera into three sub-orders or tribes.

Table of contents

I. Phasmodea

This division includes the single family of the Phasmidae whose members, generally known as " stick-insects " (q.v.) and " leaf-insects " (q.v.), are among the best-known examples of " protective resemblance " to be found in the whole animal kingdom. The prothorax is short and the mesothorax very long, the three pairs of legs closely similar, the wings often highly modified or absent, and the cerci short and unjointed. Each egg is contained in a separate, curiously formed, seed-like capsule, provided with a lid which is raised to allow the escape of the newly-hatched insect.

II. Oothecaria

In this tribe are included Orthoptera with a large prothorax, whose eggs are enclosed in a common purse or capsule formed by the hardening of a maternal secretion. The Mantidae or " praying insects " have the prothorax elongate and the forelegs powerful and raptorial, while the large, broad head is prominent. The eggs are enclosed in a case attached to a twig or stone and containing many chambers. From thiscurious habitation the young mantids hang by threads till after their first moult (see Mantis). The Blattidae (fig. 3) or cockroaches (q.v.) form the second family of this division. They are readily distinguished by the somewhat rounded prothorax beneath which the head is usually concealed, while the forelegs are unmodified. Sixteen eggs are enclosed together in a compact capsule or " purse (fig. 4).

III. Saltatoria

The three families included in this tribe are distinguished by their elongate and powerful hindlegs (fig. 5) which enable them to leap far and high. They are remarkable for the possession of complex ears (described in the article Hexapoda) anti From Carpenter's Insects. Dent & Co.

FIG. I. - Common Earwig (Forficula auricularia). Male. Magnified.

FIG. 2. - Hypopharynx and Maxillulae (m) of common earwig (Forficula auricularia). Magnified about twentyseven times.


After Howard, Ent. Bull. 4, n. s. U.S. Dept. Agr.

FIG. 4. - Egg-purse of American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana). Magnified. a, Side view; b, end view; the outline c shows natural size.

stridulating organs which produce chirping notes (see Cricket). The families are the Acridiidae and Locustidae - including the insects familiarly known as locusts and grasshoppers (q.v.) and the Gryllidae or crickets (q.v.). The Acridiidae have the feelers and the ovipositor relatively short, and possess only three tarsal segments; their ears are situated on the first abdominal segment and the males stridulate by scraping rows of pegs on the inner aspect of the hind thigh, over the sharp edges of the forewing nervures. The Locustidae (see Grasshopper, Katydid) have the feelers and often also the ovipositor very elongate; the foot is four-segmented; the ears are placed at the base of the foreshin and the stridulation is due to the friction of a transverse " file " beneath the base of the left forewing over a sharp ridge on the upper aspect of the right. In some of these insects the wings are so small as to be useless for flight, being modified altogether for stridulation. The Gryl After Marlatt, Ent. Bull. 4, n. s. U.S. Dept. Agr. lidae (fig. 5) are nearly FIG. 5. - House Cricket (Gryllus domesticus); related to the Locust male; female. Natural size. i d a e, having long feelers and ovipositors, and agreeing with the latter family in the position of the ears. The forewings are curiously arranged when at rest, the anal region of the wing lying dorsal to the insect and the rest of the wing being turned downwards at the sides (see Cricket).

Fossil History

The Orthoptera are an exceedingly interesting order of insects as regards their past history. In Palaeozoic rocks of Carboniferous age the researches of S. H. Scudder have revealed insects with the general aspect of cockroaches and phasmids, but with the two pairs of wings similar to each other in texture and form. In the Mesozoic rocks (Trias and Lias) there have been discovered remains of insects intermediate between those ancient forms and our modern cockroaches, the differentiation between forewings and hindwings having begun. The Orthopteroid type of wings appears therefore to have arisen from a primitive Isopteroid condition.


A description and enumeration of all known Dermaptera has been lately published by A. de Bormans and H. Kraus, Das Tierreich, xi. (Berlin, 1900). See also W. F. Kirby, Synomymic Catalogue of Orthoptera, pt. i. (London, Brit. Mus., 1904). See also, for earwigs, Kirby, Journ. Linn. Soc. Zool., xxiii. (1890); E. E. Green, Trans. Entom. Soc. (1898); K. W. Verhoeff, Abhandl. K. Leopold-Carol. Akad., lxxxiv. (1905); and M. Burr, Science Gossip, iv. (N.S., 1897); for Hemimerus, see H. J. Hansen, Entom. Tidsk., xv. (1894). For Orthoptera generally, see C. Brunner von Wattenwyl, Prodromus der europciischen Orthopteren (Leipzig, 1882), and Ann. Mus. Genov. xiii. (1892), &c. R. Tempel, Die Geradfliigler Mitteleuropas (Eisenbach, 1901). The Orthoptera have been largely used for anatomical and embryological researches, the more important of which are mentioned under Hexapoda (q.v.). Of memoirs on special groups of Orthoptera may be mentioned here - J. O. Westwood, Catalogue of Phasmidae (London, Brit. Mus., 1859), and Rivisio Familiae Mantidarum (London, 1889); L. C. Miall and A. Denny, The Cockroach (London, 1886); E. B. Poulton, Trans. Ent. Soc. (1896); A. S. Packard, " Report on the Rocky Mountain Locust " in gth Rep. U.S. Survey of Territories (1875). For our native species see M. Burr, British Orthoptera (Huddersfield, 1897) D. Sharp's chapters (viii.-xiv.) Cambridge Nat. History, vol. v. (1895), give an excellent summary of our knowledge. (G. H. C.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. a taxonomic order, within subdivision Polyneoptera - various insects including the cockroach, cricket, grasshopper etc.

Related terms

Wikispecies has information on:



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Cladus: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Cladus: Neoptera
Supercohort: Polyneoptera
Cohort: Anartioptera
Magnordo: Polyorthoptera
Superordo: Orthopterida
Grandordo: Panorthoptera
Mirordo: incertae sedis
Ordo: Orthoptera
Subordo: Caelifera - Ensifera




  • Saltatoria


Vernacular names

Aragonés: Inseuto
Asturianu: Inseutu
Български: Правокрили
Česky: Rovnokřídlí
Deutsch: Geradflügler
Diné bizaad: Nahachagii
English: grasshoppers, crickets and locusts
Español: Ortopteros
Esperanto: Ortopteroj
Français: criquet-locustes, locustes, sauterelles
Հայերեն: Ուղղաթևներ
עברית: חגב
Lietuvių: Tiesiasparniai
Magyar: Egyenesszárnyúak
日本語: バッタ目 (直翅目)
‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Rettvinger
Polski: Prostoskrzydle
Português: gafanhoto, grilo
Русский: Прямокрылые
Suomi: Suorasiipiset
Svenska: Hopprätvingar
中文: 直翅目
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Orthoptera on Wikimedia Commons.
Wikibooks Wikibooks has a Dichotomous Key related to this taxon Orthoptera.

Simple English

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Neoptera
(unranked) Exopterygota
Superorder: Orthopteroidea
Order: Orthoptera
Pierre André Latreille, 1793
Extant suborders and superfamilies
  • Suborder Ensifera
  • Suborder Caelifera

  • Tridactyloidea
  • Trigonopterygoidea

Orthoptera (pronounced or-thahp'-tur-uh) is an order of insects. The order contains grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets. "Ortho" means "straight", so "Orthoptera" means "straight wings".[1] This means the front wings, called tegmina, that are stiff, straight, and not used for flying. The back wings are membranous and are folded like a fan under the front wings when the creature is not flying. Many in this order use their wings to make sounds, which we usually call "chirping" noises.


Life Cycle

Creatures in order Orthoptera begin their life in an egg case. After three weeks – or when spring comes – the tiny nymphs come out from the egg case. After four or five molts, they have wings that let them fly. This shows that they are adults (grown up) and are ready to reproduce (make babies).

Orthoptera Diet

In the order Orthoptera, members chew their food, moving their mandibles (jaws) sideways - not up and down like humans do. Crickets are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. Actually, they will eat almost anything: vegetables, cereal, and even their own mate if they are hungry enough.[1] Katydids are mostly herbivores (plant eaters), though they will eat their own mate, too, if they are hungry enough. They also enjoy eating aphids and other small, slow-moving creatures. Grasshoppers almost always eat plants like grass, wheat bran, and lettuce, but this does not make them much better than the others: they can be terrible crop pests.

Leg Power

It's quite hard to catch a member of Orthoptera because they jump so well. They have amazing legs - a grasshopper can jump 20 times farther than the length of its body.[1] Their back legs are very large and long. These long, strong legs give these insects their great ability to jump.

Who's Who?

Crickets, katydids, and grasshoppers belong to the same order of Orthoptera because they are alike in lots of ways. However, there are several things that make them different from each other.

First, their colors are usually quite different. Since grasshoppers like to move during the daytime, their colors are similar to grass and bright flowers, making them usually green, light brown, or multicolored (lots of different colors at once). Crickets move at night, so they are dark. Katydids like to spend a lot of time on leaves, so they are often leaf-colored, and their wings can look like leaves. Their wings can have the same vein patterns as leaves, and they often have little brown spots just like the ones that might be found on a leaf.

Secondly, their behaviors are different. Grasshoppers like being active in the day; crickets, at night; katydids, in the late afternoon and evening.

Thirdly, their antennae is different. Katydids and crickets usually have long, thin antennae, while grasshoppers usually have short, thick ones. Of course, this rule does is not perfect – for instance, even though grasshoppers usually have short, thick antennae, the long-horned grasshopper has long, thin antennae like a cricket. Because of this, it is still sometimes hard to tell the members of this order apart.

Related pages


Look up Orthoptera in Wikispecies, a directory of species
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Fulbright, Jeannie K. (2005). Exploring Creation with Zoology 1. 1106 Meridian Plaza, Suite 220: Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. pp. 203. ISBN 1-932012-61-3. 

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