Malaysian Orthoptera :
Grasshoppers, Katydids and Crickets

bush cricket found in Malaysiagrass-hopper of malaysia imagepicture of a malaysian katydid

Grasshoppers, Katydids and Crickets of Malaysia

Malaysian Orthoptera include the grasshoppers, katydids and crickets.

These insects are most easily recognized by their extra long hind legs, which are used for jumping away from danger, although they do have wings to fly away.

Grass-hoppers eat grass and leaves, and katydids prefer young leaves, while crickets normally love roots and shoots of plants.

Grasshoppers and Katydids

Grasshoppers are almost ubiquitous in Malaysia, but they are more common in open grassy plains or fields.

In fact the Malays have a saying or proverb that says "where there is water there are fishes, and where there is a field, there are grasshoppers ("Ada air ada ikan, ada padang ada belalang").

close up of locust picture
Locusts or the bigger grass-hoppers that are mostly yellowish in color ("belalang kunyit" in Malay), are also present in Malaysia but in small numbers, and so they are not as destructive as the locusts in Africa and other parts of the world.

But still locusts are a pest to some important plants in Malaysia like rubber trees and oil palm, where they can sometimes cause severe defoliation over large areas, causing financial and economic losses if not checked.


Do You Think Grass-hoppers, Katydids and Crickets Can Hear?

Of course they do. If they can make sounds, so surely they can listen to the musical sounds they create, right?

small, green grass-hopper on a flower plant

Well, the males of the Malaysian orthoptera produce sound by rubbing their wings together, a process that is known as stridulation.

But where are their ears located?

Hmmm, they don't have protruding ears like we humans have, but in grasshoppers, their "hearing organs" to detect sounds are found on the sides of their abdomen.

In katydids, like those of crickets, their "ears" are located on their front legs.

So take a look and observe their hearing organs anytime you're close to them.


malaysian katydid picturebrownish grass-hopper picturepicture of grass-hoppers mating

When To See Malaysian Orthoptera?

Grasshoppers and katydids are usually active by day.

grass-hopper on a tree in malaysia
On sunny days they can be found happily jumping and hopping about on plants and grasses, and especially if they are disturbed.

But a number of grasshoppers and katydids have evolved to resemble the leaves that they inhabit, either green or brown, as an effective form of camouflage, against predators.

And some of them may even take the look of the colors of the tarred road, complete with zigzag body colors and protusions, that unless they jump or move about, we may not notice them.


bush cricket found in Malaysiaphoto of cricket in malaysiabig cricket picture

About the only similarity between cricket the insect and cricket the sports game of the British (hmm, I'm a cricket sports fan) is the sound or shouts coming out from them!

Crickets of the insect kind are nocturnal and they call from their hiding places underground. In the forests, they are usually under the carpet of fallen leaves and twigs.

red and black young cricket of malaysia
During certain times like rainy seasons, the calls of the crickets at night, like the croaking of frogs during such periods, can be quite overwhelming.

At home, they call out from under the flower-pots and garden hedges, or behind doors or under carpets, sometimes late into the night, and the "music" becomes very annoying and disturbing especially when we want to sleep.

Crickets are commercially bred and sold as live food for the pet trade. They are popular pet food for pet frogs and especially for aquarium fishes like arowana, kelah, sebarau and other big river fishes.

Not sure whether it's true, but pet fish owners say eating crickets make the scales of the fish shiny and more colorful.

Grasshoppers, Katydids and Crickets

Discover the amazing world of the Malaysian Orthoptera by just strolling on the fields and the edges of rain-forests.

You'll be especially fascinated by them, by their sizes, colors and appearances.

And just let them be. They are our partner creatures and friends on this earth.


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And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the living creatures that He has scattered through them: and He has Power to gather them together when He wills.
There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you.
And God has created every animal from water: of them there are some that creep on their bellies; some that walk on two legs; and some that walk on four. God creates what He wills for verily God has power over all things.

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