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Classification, Distribution, And Habitat, Leaping, Body Temperature, Defense, Courtship And MatingSize and color

Grasshoppers are plant-eating insects characterized by long hind legs designed for locomotion by jumping. Like all insects, the body of grasshoppers is divided into three main parts: head, thorax, and abdomen. On the head are two antennae for feeling and detecting scent, and two compound eyes comprised of many optical units called facets, each of which is like a miniature eye. The chewing mouthparts comprise two sets of jaws which move from side to side. The sides of the mouth have two palps, tiny appendages for feeling and detecting chemicals, which aid in food selection. There are three pair of legs and two pairs of wings attached to the thorax, although some species are wingless. At the tip of the abdomen are two appendages called cerci, and the external reproductive organs. Females have an ovipositor at the end of the abdomen through which the eggs are laid. Grasshoppers develop by incomplete metamorphosis, passing from egg, to a small wingless larval stage through several molts, to the mature adult.

Male grasshoppers are smaller than females, and size varies greatly between species—from a length of 0.4 in (1 cm) to more than 5.9 in (15 cm). The large Costa Rican grasshopper (Tropidacris cristatus) has a 9.9 in (25 cm) wing-span and weighs more than 1 oz (30 g). Colors range from the drab shades of the field dwellers to the brilliant hues of some rainforest species. In some instances, males and females are colored differently.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Glucagon to Habitat