Purple-Winged Hopper

The Purple-Winged Hopper (Titanacris albipes) is a large insect in the Romaleidae family of lubber grasshoppers. It is also known as the Purple Grasshopper. The Pink Grasshopper (Tinacris gloriosa) is in the same Ramaleidae family. 

The Purple-Winged Hopper has a heavy, cylindrical, green body and rounded head. It has olive-green forewings (front wings). Its hind (back) wings are violet purple.It has six legs with receptors on each leg that can detect movement and vibrations as well as temperature.Its hind legs are large. At the end of each leg, at the bottom of the tarsus, are claws called tarsal claws which are used for gripping grass and leaves.

Purple-Winged Hopper

It grows to about 12 centimetres (5 inches). Its wingspan is 12 centimetres (5 inches). The male and female are nearly identical, except in size. The female is larger than the male. 

It is native to Central America and South America, specifically Cayenne and French Guiana. It prefers tropical regions, in fields and woodlands.

Its life cycle is the egg, nymph, and adult. In the nymph stage, it is wingless. It grows wings in the adult stage.  

The Purple-Winged Hopper is herbivorous, eating grass and vegetation. It is diurnal, active during the day. It uses its colourful hind wings to startle predators.

The female has an ovipositor, which is a tube used to lay eggs. The ovipositor is slightly arched upward. She lays eggs in loose soil. She lays 10-60 eggs which hatch after about nine months. 

Purple-Winged Hopper
Purple-Winged Hopper
Purple-Winged Hopper

Location of photographs: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia, America (via live broadcast)

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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