All photographs copyright (2003-2013) by Kris H. Light

While hiking to Baskin Falls in the Smokies in early May I heard something rustling the dry leaves. I noticed hundreds of small Grasshopper Nymphs hopping on the ground. Grasshoppers go through incomplete metamorphosis. In this type of life cycle, a ny...
While hiking to Baskin Falls in the Smokies in early May I heard something rustling the dry leaves. I noticed hundreds of small Grasshopper Nymphs hopping on the ground. Grasshoppers go through incomplete metamorphosis. In this type of life cycle, a nymph which is a small, wingless version of an adult, emerges from the soil. The mother grasshopper had deposited her eggs in the soil the previous fall and they overwintered in that stage. When the temperatures warmed up in the spring, the tiny nymphs emerged. Since insects have a hard exoskeleton, they have to molt their skin to be able to grow. Nymphs molt 5 times (each stage is called an "instar") before becoming an adult. The adult insect has wings and is able to reproduce.

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