Difference Between Locust and Grasshopper

Locusts and grasshoppers are insects that belong to the order Orthoptera. Both of these insects are herbivorous and have short ovipositors, two short antennae, long legs, and strong mandibles. They also have two front wings and two membranous and fully developed wings in the back.


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While locusts and grasshoppers have quite a similar appearance but they have vividly different patterns of behaviour. Locust is also a type of grasshopper, generally called short-horned grasshopper. Grasshoppers, as the name suggests, hop for movement while locusts fly.

While the appearance might be deceptive, there are still many distinguishing factors between them.

Key Takeaways

  1. Locusts are a type of grasshopper known for their ability to form swarms and cause significant agricultural damage.
  2. Grasshoppers generally do not swarm and are less likely to cause large-scale damage to crops.
  3. Both locusts and grasshoppers are part of the order Orthoptera, but locusts exhibit unique swarming behavior due to environmental triggers.

Locust vs Grasshopper

The difference between Locusts and Grasshopper is their behavioural pattern. They are pretty different in their state of existence, adaptability, colours, and suborder.

Locust vs Grasshopper

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Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonLocustGrasshopper
DefinitionA locust is a type of grasshopper that has the ability to change colour and behaviour while swarming.A grasshopper belongs to the group of jumping insects that feeds on grass.
Lower ClassificationA locust belongs to the suborder Caelifera.A Grasshopper belongs to the family Acrididae.
Number of FamiliesLocust has a single-family.A grasshopper has about 28 distinct families.
SizeThe size of a locust is smaller than that of a grasshopper.The size of a grasshopper is comparatively large and can even exceed 11 centimetres.
SignificanceA locust is a type of grasshopper that turns gregarious and can change its colour, shape, and fertility.A grasshopper is a plant-eating insect that can leap 20 times its own body’s length.
BehaviourLocusts are found to be solitary insects that merge into swarms during favourable situations.A grasshopper is specifically a solitary insect.
ColourGenerally, a locust is brown in colour. However, an immature gregarious locust is pink in colour and turns yellow when it matures.Grasshoppers are primarily found in green, olive or brown colour.
Coverage DistanceA locust can cover vast distances in its lifetime.A grasshopper comparatively covers a minimal distance.
MovementA locust can fly as well as hop.A grasshopper can only hop.
DietA locust can feed on crops and vegetation, which mainly causes a lot of damage to crops.A grasshopper feeds on grass.


What is Locust?

A locust is basically a type of grasshopper which is short-horned and is known to migrate in huge swarms. A locust belongs to the order Orthoptera and the suborder Acrididae.

It has a single family and is known to exhibit gregarious behaviour. They have a similar morphological structure as that of a grasshopper.

Locust is one of the species of grasshoppers which has the ability to transform its habitat and behaviour while swarming in huge numbers.

Generally, they are solitary, but these get organized into huge swarms during favourable conditions, thereby becoming gregarious. In this state, they transform their body shape, form, colour, state of fertility, and behaviour.

They are basically found in brown colour, but during their gregarious stage, they can be found in pink or yellow colour according to maturity.

They have wings and can fly up to considerable distances in their migratory phase. These insects generally thrive on crops and vegetation for their existence.


What is Grasshopper?

Grasshoppers are simple plant-eating insects that belong to the order Orthoptera and the suborder Caelifera.

They have around 28 families, and their size ranges from 1 to 7 centimetres in length. Female grasshoppers are mostly found to be larger than men. They are found in green, olive, grey, and brown colours.

This insect can leap up to 20 times their own body’s length but does not cover very long distances as it can only hop.

A grasshopper has around 11,0000 different species found around the globe. They can be found everywhere in the world except for the polar regions. 

They have two pairs of wings, tapering flexible ones at the front and broad membranous ones at the back. They are primarily found in meadows as they feed on grasses and can eat up to 16 times their weight.

If a grasshopper is of vibrant colours, it might feed on toxic plants to store those toxins in their bodies.


Main Differences Between Locust and Grasshopper

  1. Every locust is a short-horned grasshopper. However, every grasshopper is not a locust.
  2. A locust belongs to the suborder Caelifera, whereas a grasshopper belongs to the suborder Acrididae,
  3. Locusts have a single family, while grasshoppers have around 28 families.
  4. A locust has the ability to fly and hop. But a grasshopper can only hop.
  5. A locust can change its shape, colour, and state of fertility as well as their behaviour of survival. However, a grasshopper is primarily incapable of the same.
  6. Generally, locusts can merge into huge swarms during favourable conditions, while grasshopper stays solitary.
  7. Locusts can travel comparatively much larger distances than a grasshopper.
  8. A locust can exist in a migratory as well as a gregarious state, while a grasshopper cannot do the same.
  9. A locust is found in brown colour, but a gregarious locust is pink when immature and yellow when mature. A grasshopper, on the other hand, is found in green or brown colour.
  10. A locust can feed on crops and vegetation, while a grasshopper feeds only on grass.
Difference Between Locust and Grasshopper
  1. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19921175487
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3503459
  3. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/a3be/48daf15e48ac2674cfc9367a9642f2071a5d.pdf
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2 thoughts on “Difference Between Locust and Grasshopper”

    1. So true, maybe in future the technology will help the farmers. Till that time, they can use traditional methods or use internal farming techniques.

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