Why do grasshoppers jump?
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Why do grasshoppers jump?


When grasshoppers first evolved from earlier insects, about 300 million years ago, they lived in forests of huge ferns, and the main danger to grasshoppers came from frogs. Like frogs, grasshoppers evolved to be good jumpers.They ate mainly ferns.

Grasshoppers jump by pushing with the big muscles in their big back legs against the ground. They have claws on their feet so their feet don't slip when they jump.

But grasshoppers have had to evolve in many different ways over the years to keep up with changes in their environment. About 200 million years ago, the climate got a lot more dry and hot. Grasshoppers evolved a thin waxy coat over their hard shells to keep from losing too much water to evaporation.

And when birds and flowering plants and grasses evolved, about 100 million years ago, grasshoppers changed to meet the new situation. Now grasshoppers mainly eat grass, instead of ferns, and their biggest enemies are birds, instead of frogs.

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Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

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