Ariel the Atractomorpha (vegetable grasshopper)
Good day to you all. I'm Ariel the vegetable grasshopper.
My scientific name is Atractomorpha, which means “attractive shape”. I think I am an attractive shape, because I look quite different from the many other types of grasshoppers and crickets I am related to.
Where do I live?
I live around the creek in low grasses and on green plants that are the same colour as I am.
Being the same green as the plants I live on is a great advantage. It means insect-eaters such as Norman the cane toad can't see me very easily, and so I won't end up as his lunch.
I can't fly very well, and I don't even jump very well, so camouflage is an important ability for me. There are quite a few of us vegetable grasshoppers around Calamvale Creek, but I'm sure many people go their whole lives without seeing us because we blend in so well with the grasses and plants.
Advantage of not flying well
You may think that not being able to fly well or jump strongly is a disadvantage. It's not.
You see, if I were flying around all the time or jumping great distances, I would surely land in a spider's web some time.
But travelling short distances means I am in control of where I will land, and that's why Atractomorphas like me are breeding like rabbits in Brisbane.
Wherever there are grasses and plants the same colour as we are, we will be there.
Are we pests?
Some people say we are pests, because we eat their vegetables.
But take a look a me. I'm only as long as match-stick, and not much wider. And my mouth is so small you would have trouble seeing it. How much could I eat!
Some of my relatives who group in large numbers may be a problem to farmers by eating their crops, but we are much smaller than most crickets and grasshoppers, so we couldn't do as much damage as they do even if we tried.
And don't we look attractive? Put up with us if we visit your garden. We're just looking for something to sustain us.
If you look carefully, you may see me in any of the grasses and plants around Calamvale Creek.
— Ariel the Attractive Shape.