Grasshopper at Lapakahi

Grasshopper at Lapakahi

Grasshopper LapakahiSeveral weeks ago, when the Big Island had a couple of hurricanes in the vicinity, we were inundated with rain. Tired of staying indoors or slogging through mud, I headed down the road a few miles, to the dry side of the island, in the hopes of finding somewhere I could go for a walk.

I stopped at Lapakahi State Park, which holds the remains of an ancient Hawaii fishing village. It was dry and warm, though the trails there were still slick with moisture and closed to the public.

While I soaked up the warmth, I noticed this grasshopper (Schistocerca nitens I think) on a plant. It was hanging onto the stem and, despite my presence, seemed not in any hurry to move. It took me a while to realize there was something odd about it, but eventually I noticed that it was missing one of its hind legs. It’s not the first grasshopper I’ve seen in this condition and I always wonder how it affects them. The hind legs are the ones that launch them, so if they’re missing one do they ping off to one side? Do they end up going in circles? Or are they able to compensate?

I didn’t find out on this day as the grasshopper remained in roughly the same position the whole time I was there. Eventually I gave up watching and headed back into the gloom.

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