Fun Horse Lubber Grasshopper Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Horse lubber grasshopper facts are enjoyed by kids.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.6 Min

The lubber grasshopper is a type of large grasshopper found throughout the United States. There are four types of lubber grasshoppers, the eastern lubber grasshopper (Romalea microptera), western horse lubber grasshopper, plain lubber grasshopper, and southeastern lubber grasshopper. Western horse lubber grasshoppers populate the Sonoran desert in the southwestern part of the United States and Mexico. It is believed that the species get its name from the shape of its head. When observed from the side, it resembles a tiny version of a horse's head.

In the wild, they are identified by their unique coloration. The combination of the shiny black with bright yellow markings and yellow forewings makes the insect distinct from others. However, some grasshoppers might change color in the course of their life. For example, horse lubbers of the northern range remain black throughout their life while those in the southern range might turn yellow when they become adults. Swarms of grasshoppers come out from their dens during the pre monsoon or late summer season when the arid desert soil is replaced by small plants due to rainfall.

If you are interested in knowing more about the horse lubber grasshoppers, keep reading these wonderful facts. For similar content, check out the articles on Chinese grasshopper and eastern lubber grasshopper.

Horse Lubber Grasshopper Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a horse lubber grasshopper?

Horse lubber grasshoppers (Taeniopoda eques) are one of the largest species of lubber grasshoppers found commonly in the arid desert region of Texas, Mexico, and southeastern Arizona.

What class of animal does a horse lubber grasshopper belong to?

Horse lubbers of the Orthoptera order and Romaleidae family belong to the class Insecta, the common class for all types of insects.

How many horse lubber grasshoppers are there in the world?

The total number of horse lubber grasshoppers that are present in the world cannot be estimated. It is very difficult to count the global population of flying insects. These small creatures protect themselves from their regular predators in the wild through a wide variety of defense mechanisms. This helps them to retain their population.

Where does a horse lubber grasshopper live?

Western horse lubbers are distributed all over the Sonoran desert. They are found in places like New Mexico, Texas, central Mexico, and southeastern Arizona. The grasshopper is found in large numbers in the Chihuahuan Desert of the US since it receives heavy rainfall.

What is a horse lubber grasshopper's habitat?

The horse lubber grasshopper occurs throughout the arid and semi arid desert regions of North America. In their natural habitat, lubbers inhabit the foliage of several desert plants and shrubs like mesquite. They also populate grasslands and oak woods, especially the oaks of southeastern Arizona. In developed habitats of cities, they occur in places like parks, gardens, and fields.

Who do horse lubber grasshoppers live with?

The lubber grasshopper shows different types of social behaviors in different stages of life. At their nymph stage, they remain in clusters as pod mates with other grasshopper nymphs. After a few days, they disperse. Lubbers again form close congregations during their first instar stage. This is believed to help vulnerable grasshoppers to strengthen their methods of defense. After that stage of the life cycle, lubbers lead a solitary life. However, when they fly around large bushes at dusk, it appears as if the grasshoppers are flying in a swarm.

How long does a horse lubber grasshopper live?

The horse lubber grasshopper can live up to 12 months in the wild. The unpredictable climate conditions of their natural habitat leave them with a short span of three to four months to complete their entire life cycle. They complete their entire process of life cycle during the summer and monsoon months, before the freezing winter of the desert sets in.

How do they reproduce?

Lubbers live a very short life and within that short span, they copulate numerous times in the adult stage. They do not have any fixed partners and males choose partners of different sexual orientations and mate with them several times.

Females, when ready to reproduce, secrete a type of pheromone in order to attract males. Following the scent of pheromones, the males stalk the females and they start to mate without any warning or signaling. Breeding in lubber grasshoppers can last for 24 hours and the pairs depart as soon as their reproduction process is over.

Female lubbers produce a single brood in one year. They lay around 50 eggs in a single pod, generally at the base of rocks and shrubs. The number of pods laid by these grasshoppers depends solely on the development of the adults. All adult grasshoppers die around November, after the freezy winter sets in.

Females lay eggs before the frost, generally in October. The eggs hatch the next season in summer and reddish larvae come out of them. The grasshopper's larvae undergo very fast developmental stages. Within 40 days after the eggs hatch, the nymphs undergo five molts at regular intervals before they emerge as mature adults. Adult lubbers start mating after 12 days they attain maturity.

What is their conservation status?

Horse lubbers do not have any specific status in the IUCN Red List. Therefore they have been classified under the Not Evaluated category. There are few threats that these grasshoppers face daily. For example, ants tend to attack and feed on the hatchlings or molting nymphs of lubbers. They are also killed by humans on a daily basis.

Secretion of multiple toxins and chemicals keeps most predators away from these lubbers. This has helped the species to retain their population in their native habitat.

Horse Lubber Grasshopper Fun Facts

What does the horse lubber grasshopper look like?

Horse lubber grasshoppers (Taeniopoda eques) of North America are much larger than other grasshoppers or crickets found in that area. They have a shiny black body highlighted with orange and yellow markings. The yellow and orange stripes of the body continue up to the legs and the wings. The entire face appears to be patterned with yellow and orange colors. The forewings of the insect are also yellow, through which lime green veins are visible prominently. Most of the body looks black. The hindwings of horse lubbers are bright red in color with black edges. The combination of yellow, orange and black colors is believed to be a warning coloration for its predators.

In developed environments, pale colored forms of lubbers have evolved that appear less black than forest hoppers. The size of the wings of horse lubbers varies according to individuals. Some creatures have wings exceeding the tips of the abdomen, while most lubbers are flightless with poorly developed small wings.

The horse lubber grasshopper is very big in size.

How cute are they?

The bright color patterns make this grasshopper look attractive among nature, but it is still not considered cute by humans.

How do they communicate?

Communication between lubbers is chemical and they secrete pungent pheromones made up of several complex chemicals and toxins. This also helps them to stay safe from predators. Their aposematic coloration is also regarded as a warning signal so that predators stay away from these toxic creatures.

How big is a horse lubber grasshopper?

Horse lubbers can grow up to a length of 4 in (10.2 cm). They are two times longer than normal grasshoppers, five times bigger than grass spiders, and three times as much as a praying mantis.

How fast can a horse lubber grasshopper fly?

Most horse lubbers are flightless because of their large size and small wings. Therefore, their speed has not been determined.

How much does a horse lubber grasshopper weigh?

The weight of a horse lubber grasshopper ranges between 0.1-0.3 oz (3-7 g), which is much heavier than a black carpenter ant.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and the female grasshoppers of this species do not have any separate names. Both are called horse lubber grasshoppers.

What would you call a baby horse lubber grasshopper?

Grasshoppers in their early stage are referred to as larvae and nymphs.

What do they eat?

Horse lubber grasshoppers are omnivorous in nature and they feed on plant matters as well as on insects and other vertebrates. Some common food that lubbers consume is citrus flowers, pods, ornamental plants, and desert annuals. They are especially drawn towards the leaves and flowers of any citrus plant. Lubbers, especially the females, dig into the soil to search for live food like insects and vertebrate cadavers and are also known to feast on spider silk.

Are they poisonous?

Horse lubbers have developed chemical defense processes. The chemical deterrents that they release to protect themselves in the wild might be poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they do not make good pets. They do not bite but release foul chemicals as sprays.

Did you know...

Grasshopper larvae are extremely vulnerable to predators like ants for the first three minutes of their lives. Once they shed their provisional cuticles, the flightless nymph will try to crawl up any vertical object near it.

Why you should not touch an eastern lubber grasshopper?

The amazing colors make the eastern lubber grasshopper (Romalea microptera) look very attractive, however, if you try to touch one, it will secrete a foul and smelly foam making a loud hissing noise. The entire process might gross you out.

How many eggs do horse lubber grasshoppers lay?

The number of eggs that an adult female horse lubber grasshopper lays depends on the level of development of the particular grasshopper. They generally lay 50 eggs in a single pod. However, the number of pods is extremely dependent on the nourishment of the individual grasshopper.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our European earwig facts and tailless whip scorpion facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable eastern lubber grasshopper coloring pages.

Horse Lubber Grasshopper Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Insect and vertebrates

What Type of Animal were they?

Omnivore

Average Litter Size?

50

How Much Did They Weigh?

0.1-0.3 oz (3-7 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

desert shrub, oakwood, parks, gardens, and fields

Where Do They Live?

north america

How Long Were They?

4 in (10.2)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Insecta

Genus

Taeniopoda eques

Family

Romaleidae

Scientific Name

Taeniopoda eques

What Do They Look Like?

Black, yellow, orange, and red

Skin Type

Hard scales

What Are Their Main Threats?

ants and humans

What is their Conservation Status?

Not Evaluated
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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