Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gawd. Now they're hopping around stark nekkid.

This is a shell of a grasshopper that just moulted. Creepy. Creepy. Creepy. But fascinating if you look at what their exoskeleton covers--the antennae, the eyes(!)...but where the heck is the bottom half of him? I would have liked to have watched this new grasshoppper find his way out of his old body (even though my skin is crawling just thinking of it) but I JUST missed it.

I'm thinking this is the guy who just ditched his old duds. He (she?) has that fresh look to him. Kind of a short bottom end too come to think of it. Click on the image for maximum grossness. Same goes for the above image.

When these new grasshoppers emerge from their old exoskeletons, they pump themselves up with air so that when their new shell hardens, it will be bigger than what they need at the moment. Once they harden, that's it until they moult again because the exoskeletons cannot get bigger after they've hardened. Grasshoppers moult several times and the last time they moult they will have wings that will be big enough to get them airborne. If you look at the shell in the first image, you can see the baby wings.

And as always, if there is a grasshopper doing something inappropriate, there is always another grasshopper close by to take in the whole show. Here's another baby bird grasshopper, a very wide-eyed one.

1 comment:

Country Girl said...

I like learning things and I had no idea how big a baby bird grasshopper could get. Nor did I know that it could actually fly. I don't find this gross at all! I think it's fascinating.