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Grasshoppers

  • Bush Grasshopper
  • Fire Grasshopper
  • Bush Grasshopper
  • Monkey Grasshopper

Monkey grasshoppers (Euschmidtia) look like something drawn by a cartoonist rather than a real animal. They have big, expressive eyes and before each jump they move their body from side to side, judging the distance.

 

All grasshoppers feed on plants. On the plains of Gorongosa they are similar to large grazers, like buffalo and wildebeest - by eating some plants, allows others can flourish and the diversity of plants is kept in balance. Although they compete for food with antelopes and other herbivores, their presence not only assures that no single plant species overtakes the savanna, but they also provide highly nutritious food for small mammals and birds.

 

Bush grasshoppers (Phymateus viridipes) feed on toxic plants, and are able to store compounds in their bodies that make them unpalatable to most predators. They advertise this fact with bright coloration and have few natural enemies. In contrast, Fire grasshoppers (Tmetonota rugosa), are masters of blending among charred pieces of grass and branches. They are able to survive savanna fires, which are a naturally occurring event every year in the Gorongosa. The diversity of Gorongosa grasshoppers is very high, and scientists have recently discovered several new species in the Park.