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Red Grasshopper Mites

The next time you’re in a field, stop and take a close look at a few of the grasshoppers you find there. Chances are great that you will see tiny, red mites on some of them. These Red Grasshopper Mites, close relatives of ticks and spiders, go through three stages: larva, nymph and adult. The larvae (6-legged) attach to the base of a grasshopper’s wings, where they suck the grasshopper’s blood. The nymphs and adults (both 8-legged) are free-living and feed on grasshopper eggs. Each Red Grasshopper Mite nymph requires more than two grasshopper eggs to become an adult. An adult male Red Grasshopper Mite requires three grasshopper eggs for reproducing, and each female, seven to eight eggs. After breeding, a female mite deposits up to 4,000 eggs. Entomologists believe that mites reduce grasshopper survival and reproduction dramatically.

8 responses

  1. Susan Holland

    What an amazing photograph! If the mites need that many eggs, and there are so many of them, my question is how many eggs does a grasshopper lay? It has to be a lot in order for the grasshoppers to survive.

    June 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    • I have to say yours is a great question, even if you are my sister! According to my sources, grasshoppers lay their eggs in little pod-like structures made out of soill — each egg pod consists of 20 to 120 elongated eggs securely cemented together; the whole mass is somewhat egg-shaped and covered with soil. A female grasshopper produces from eight to 25 egg masses. At most that would come to about 3,000 eggs per grasshopper — not enough to keep up with the mites…I’ll have to do further research on this!

      June 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm

  2. Jean Harrison

    Very neat photo! And interesting text, as always.

    June 22, 2012 at 4:17 pm

  3. Kathryn Connell

    Oooh, that picture makes me itch!

    June 22, 2012 at 4:30 pm

  4. Very Nice! 🙂

    June 22, 2012 at 5:16 pm

  5. sallyubarrycr

    Reblogged this on Sally Barry Blog.

    September 20, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    • So glad you liked it enough to reblog it. Many thanks. Mary

      September 21, 2012 at 1:53 am

  6. Dotman

    Great blog! Gave me insight into the situation in this photograph…

    August 30, 2014 at 11:41 pm

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