12 Difference between Locusts and Grasshoppers (With Table)

Class Insecta is the largest in the arthropod phylum. These invertebrates have bodies divided into the head, thorax, and abdomen.

These creatures also have three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and one pair of antennae. The chitin exoskeleton help to differentiate between various species of insects in the world.

Locusts and grasshoppers are excellent examples of class Insecta. But telling the difference between grasshopper and locust can be challenging for some people.

So, what is the main difference between locusts and grasshoppers? Locusts have long and strong wings for a long-distance flight while grasshoppers have thin and tough front wings ideal for short-distant flights. 

This article provides a detailed insight into the differences between locusts and grasshoppers in a tabular form for easier understanding. You will also get to know the similarities between grasshoppers and locusts.

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Comparison Table (Locust vs Grasshopper)

Basic terms Locust Grasshopper
Lower classification They belong to suborder Caelifera. They belong to the family Acrididae.
Size They are smaller in body size. They are comparatively larger in body size.
Number of families They belong to a single-family. They belong to 28 distinctive families.
Behavior They are solitary insects that merge into swarms during favorable conditions. They are mainly solitary insects.
Color They are brown in color but immature gregarious is pink in color and turns to yellow when mature. They are found in olive green or brown in color.
Distance covered They can fly for long distances. They fly over a short distance.
What they feed on They majorly feed on crops and vegetation. They majorly feed on grass.
Wings They have long and strong wings. They have thin and tough wings.

What Is a Locust?

A locust is a type of grasshopper that has the ability to change color and behavior while swarming. It belongs to suborder caelifera.

It has a single-family and they are known to be highly temperamental. Their morphological structure does not differ from the grasshoppers.

They are solitary animals but during favorable conditions, they form swarms. While in this form they transform their body shape, color, state of fertility, and behavior.

During the migratory phase, they can fly for long distances as they have long and strong wings that can enable them to fly for long distances.

They only feed on crops and vegetation for survival. In case there is an absence of vegetation where they are, then they will be forced to migrate.

What Is a Grasshopper?

Grasshopper belongs to a group of insects that entirely depend on plants for survival and also jumping insects.

They are found in nearly 28 distinct families. Their body size ranges from 9 to 11 centimeters long. Female grasshoppers are comparatively larger than their male counterparts.

They mostly hop and they have small and weak wings hence they cannot fly for long distances.

Most grasshoppers are colored to blend their environment. Most species are brown, gray, or green. Males tend to have more brightly colored colors on their wings to entice the females.

Main Difference between Locust and Grasshopper

  1. A locust belongs to the suborder caelifera while a grasshopper belongs to the family Acrididae.
  2. Locusts have a single-family while grasshoppers have 28 distinct families.
  3. Locusts can both fly and hop while a grasshopper can only hop.
  4. Locusts are small in body size while grasshoppers are comparatively large in body size.
  5. Locusts merge into large swarms during favorable conditions while grasshoppers are generally solitary animals.
  6. Locusts change their body shape, color, form, fertility, and behavior for survival while grasshoppers are not able to change.
  7. Locusts can travel for longer distances while grasshoppers are not able to do so.
  8. Locusts feed on crops and vegetation while grasshoppers majorly feed on grass.
  9. Locusts are brown in color but when in the gregarious state they are pink in color when immature and yellow in color when mature while grasshoppers are found in brown, gray, or green colors.
  10. Locusts exist in migratory and gregarious states while grasshoppers do not.
  11. Locusts can live anywhere where there is vegetation while grasshoppers majorly live in meadows or fields where they can find grass.
  12. Locust is destructive insects while grasshoppers are not destructive insects.

Similarities between Locust and Grasshopper

  1. They both belong to class Insecta.
  2. They both have wings.
  3. They both feed on plant matter.
  4. Both undergo incomplete metamorphosis.
  5. Both have two front wings and two membranous wings in the back.
  6. Both have elongated hind legs for jumping.
  7. Both have strong mandibles on their mouths.
  8. Both have large compound eyes and short antennae.
  9. Both are bugs.

In Conclusion

Both locust and grasshopper belong to the same order hence they have similar morphological features. They are similar in appearance but they have quite different behavior.

Locusts have the ability to change their color, form, fertility, and behavior while in a gregarious state while grasshoppers do not have that ability.

Both have the capability of ruining huge plantations as they both depend on plant matter for survival.

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