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Thursday, 25 July 2019

The meadow grasshopper

Chorthippus parallelus, the meadow grasshopper, is a common species of grasshopper found in non-arid grasslands throughout the well vegetated areas of Europe and some adjoining areas of Asia. It is a well-studied organism in the discipline of Evolutionary biology and was an early and important model system for the study of European phylogeography. The range of the Meadow Grasshopper extends from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Urals. It is found from Scandinavia in the north to southern Spain and Anatolia in the south. It prefers moist vegetation and in southern regions is typically found in river valleys and at altitude (up to approx 2000m), not being found in arid areas. Due to high densities of these insects in Western Europe, some researchers have also proposed their possible utilization as human food. These insects contain 69% proteins on dry weight with excellent amino acid profile and digestibility. Aman Paul and his co-workers indicated that before introducing these insects for human food, it is necessary to do a thorough examination of any possible toxic and/or allergic conditions that could arise from their consumption.
Females grow to approximately 2 cm and are larger and less active than males that grow to approximately 1.5 cm. Both sexes are flightless. In females the wing cases (covering vestigialwings) extend only a short way down the abdomen while males have longer wing cases extending to almost the tip of the abdomen. They can be variable in colour with green, brownish, purple-red and pink forms recorded, although green forms are most common. Colour forms are genetically determined and some populations can show high frequency of pink grasshoppers. Chorthippus parallelus is told from similar species by the approximately parallel nature of the bars (pronotal side-keels) on the back of the neck which gives the species its name.

 

(latin: chorthippus parallelus)

Thursday, 25 July 2019