Color Lubbers

25 Oct
An aposematic lubber grasshopper from Argentina (Romaleidae)

An aposematic lubber grasshopper from Argentina (Romaleidae)

Some of my favorite Argentinian insects were these large, colorful lubber grasshoppers.  They were certainly striking, and easy to spot with the aposematic coloration they use to warn predators that they are poisonous.  Lubber grasshoppers belong to the orthopteran family Romaleidae, so named from Greek “romaleos” meaning “strong of body” in reference to their generally large size.  The term “lubber” may also be in reference to the old English use of the word to mean “clumsy” and “stout.”  Many lubber grasshoppers also have shortened wings, especially in the females, as we’ve seen previously, and are poor fliers and slow hoppers due to their heavy bodies.  In the case of this lubber grasshopper, any slowness or clumsiness due to body size is compensated by toxic chemicals that make them distasteful to potential predators.

An aposematic lubber grasshopper in Argentina.

An aposematic lubber grasshopper in Argentina (Zoniopoda inheringi).

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