How Do Grasshoppers Reproduce?

How Do Grasshoppers Reproduce?
••• by Anderson Mancini

Anatomy

Male grasshopper's reproductive organs consist of the testes, which hold within them spermatocyte cells that will divide and eventually form packages of sperm cells; and the aedeagus, which is the delivery system for the sperm packets. The female grasshopper's reproductive organs consist of the ovipositor, which is the delivery system for the eggs as well as the entry place for the male reproductive organ; and the ovaries, which contain the eggs as well as various materials used to nourish and maintain them during early development.

Copulation

During copulation, the male grasshopper will mount the female and insert its aedeagus into the female's ovipositor. He will then deliver his spermatophore, the packet containing his sperm, into the female through her ovipositor. This sperm will be used to fertilize her many eggs through a number of very small passages know as micropyles. With her eggs fertilized, the female will then seek to lay her eggs, using the same ovipositor used during reproduction to release the egg pod from her body.

Laying Eggs

When the female grasshopper is ready to release her egg pod, she will use specialized horns on her abdomen to dig and inch or two into the ground. She will then extend her ovipositor into the hole she has dug, and lay a pod containing dozens of eggs. This pod is protected from harm by a thick covering that the female secretes during this process, which later hardens. For grasshoppers, reproduction takes place before the cooler months, and the eggs they lay will hatch when the weather has begun to warm up. This means that in warmer zones, the eggs can hatch quickly, in only a matter of weeks, while in colder areas, the eggs may remain without hatching for up to nine months.

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