Thursday, June 6, 2013

Destructive Beauty

This handsome grasshopper was on one of our irises. I find the contrasting coloring quite striking.

This is a juvenile lubber grasshopper or Romalea microptera. This one will grow into a large yellow grasshopper that can be quite destructive to citrus groves, but also to home gardens. They are said to favor amaryllises, though I read one gardener to state, "they love every plant I grow, including weeds." According to the same article, lubbers are toxic and their only known predator is the loggerhead shrike, a native bird that beheads them and then impales the rest on barbed wired to bake out the toxins before returning to consume them.

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