Do lubber grasshoppers spit?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

Lubber grasshoppers do have a unique defense mechanism where they spit a droplet of brown fluid when threatened. This behavior is often referred to as “spitting” but it is actually a form of regurgitation.

When a lubber grasshopper feels threatened or is approached by a potential predator, it will first try to deter the threat by displaying its bright and contrasting coloration. The vivid colors of lubber grasshoppers serve as a warning to predators that they are toxic or distasteful. This is known as aposematic coloration.

However, if the warning colors fail to deter the predator, the lubber grasshopper will resort to its spitting behavior. It does this by forcefully expelling a droplet of a foamy, distasteful liquid from its thoracic region. This liquid is often brown in color and is commonly referred to as “tobacco” due to its resemblance to the color of tobacco juice.

The act of spitting or regurgitating this fluid serves as a last line of defense for the lubber grasshopper. The liquid is unappetizing and has a foul taste, making it an effective deterrent for many predators. The foamy consistency of the liquid also helps to make it more difficult for the predator to consume or handle the grasshopper.

I have personally encountered lubber grasshoppers in the wild and have witnessed their spitting behavior. It is quite fascinating to see how they can produce and expel this fluid as a defense mechanism. The sight of a tiny grasshopper spitting out a droplet of brown liquid is quite unexpected and certainly makes you think twice about approaching them!

Lubber grasshoppers do indeed spit or regurgitate a foamy, distasteful liquid when they feel threatened. This unique defense mechanism helps them to fend off potential predators and survive in their natural habitats.