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Citrus Pests


Grasshoppers and katydids


Scientific name


Order Orthoptera

Similar species


Grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets are commonly mistaken for one another. Each group can be distinguished by several characteristics.

Grasshoppers Katydids Crickets
Antennae Shorter than body At least as long as body At least as long as body
Ovipositor Short, blunt Blade-like Needle-like
Tympana location Sides of first abdominal segment Front tibia Front tibia
Hind femur Thick Thin Thick

Diagnostic characteristics

  • Smallest size - 14 mm (0.55 in.).
  • Largest size - 75 mm (2.95 in.).
  • Elongate body and pronotum with descending lateral lobes.
  • Uniform dark green to tan with assorted color spots.
  • Sword-like (ensiform) to thread-like (filiform) antennae with at least 7 segments.
  • Katydids have much longer antennae than grasshoppers.
  • Large compound eyes and three ocelli present.
  • Chewing mouthparts are downward pointing (hypognathous).
  • First two pairs of legs are walking legs (gressorial).
  • Grasshoppers with enlarged hind femurs (hind leg segment) modified for jumping (saltatorial).
  • Dark green to blue tibia (second largest leg segment).
  • Tarsi (small subdivisions below the tibia) have 1 - 4 segments.
  • Wings either absent (apterous) or with two pairs (alate).
  • Winged species with tegmina (leathery, long forewings) and broad, fan-like, membranous hind wings.
  • Forewings with either assorted color patterns or a leaf-like appearance.
  • Short, well-developed appendages on last abdominal segment (cerci).
  • Abdomen usually 11 segmented.
  • Females with an ovipositor (organ for laying eggs).
  • Males with a large terminal, ventral plate on the abdomen (subgenital plate).
  • Tympana (auditory organs) on either the first abdominal segment or base of front tibia.
  • Katydids with a scraper (sharp edge base of front wing) and file (file-like ridge on other front wing).
  • Smallest - 3.4 mm (0.13 in.).
  • Largest - 16 mm (0.63 in.).
  • Normally 6 nymphal instars.
  • Pale to bright orange body color with assorted spot or stripe patterns.
  • Dark green to tan antennae with banding.
  • Structurally similar to adults, but with wing pads.
  • Size and number of antennal segments increases with each successive molt.
  • Smallest - 3.9 mm (0.15 in.).
  • Largest - 4.5 mm (0.17 in.).
  • Oval or with a curved and flattened shape.
  • Yellow to glistening pale grey.
  • Egg mass laid either on leaf margin or held within an egg pod.


Citrus hosts

All Citrus species and their hybrids are known hosts for the devastating grasshopper, Melanoplus devastator. Bush katydids feed on sweet orange, Citrus sinensis.

Non-citrus hosts

Orthoptera have a broad host range that includes weeds as well as vegetable, field, and flower crops. See individual fact sheets for more detailed information.

Host damage


Refer to the individual fact sheets for each orthopteran species for more detailed information.


Orthopterans may feed on very young fruit, causing distortion and a single circular scar on the fruit. Often, individuals will take one bite of many fruits.


Visible damage is often species-specific with individuals feeding along edges of leaves or forming ragged circular holes in leaves.


Certain orthopterans will occasionally feed on the epidermis of stems.



Female grasshoppers and katydids lay one to several eggs. Katydids will lay eggs on tough, older citrus leaves in the summertime while grasshoppers deposit eggs either in the soil or on a leaf margin in late summer. Eggs enter a resting period (diapause) and overwinter until the following spring. Newly emerged nymphs extensively feed on flowers, leaves, and particularly young fruit. Nymphs increase in body size after each successive molt and mature into adults by mid-summer.

Adults find mates by producing mating calls. Male grasshoppers find mates by either snapping their wings in flight or rasping the hind legs against the forewings or abdomen. Male katydids produce mating songs by rubbing the scrape and file on their forewings.



Capinera, J.L., R.D. Scott, and T.J. Walker. 2004. Field guide to grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets of the United States. Cornell University Press. Ithaca, NY.

Belkin, J. 1976. Fundamentals of Entomology: A manual for introductory courses. American Biological Supply Company. Baltimore, Maryland.

Eaton, E. and K. Kaufman. 2007. Orthoptera pp.68. In Field guide to insects of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company. New York, New York.

Helfer, J.R. 1953. How to know the grasshopper, cockroaches, and their allies: Pictured-key nature series. WM.C. Brown Company Publishers. Dubuque, Iowa.

Triplehorn, C., and N. Johnson. 2004. Orthoptera pp. 209-213. In Borror and DeLong's Introduction to the study of insects. 7th ed. Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning. Belmonte, California.



Guerrero, S., J.A. Weeks, and A.C. Hodges


Citrus Pests
Content last updated June, 2012