How does it move?

        Though M. differentialis has fully functional, colorless wings its primary method of movement is jumping. Highly specialized hind limbs allow grasshoppers to jump almost a meter (Chapman & Joern, 1990), which is roughly thirty times its body length! That’s the equivalent of the average human jumping about half of a football field!

          Grasshoppers can walk, however their walking speed is very slow. Jumping is an adaptation because it allows the grasshopper to move at otherwise unattainable speeds to escape predation (Chapman & Joern, 1990)

         The incredible jumps of these grasshoppers are due to some amazing adaptations of the hind legs. Grasshoppers are able to flex the muscles in their hind legs without moving them. This enables it to attain much higher stress levels in the muscle and thus more potential energy. By releasing all this energy at once the grasshopper generates an explosive catapult like force that launches it great distances relative to its body length. (Chapman & Joern, 1990)

       Unfortunately for the grasshopper, because the hind legs are so specialized for jumping they are rather clumsy when walking and significantly slow down the insect. (Chapman & Joern, 1990)

How does it react to environmental stimuli?

         Antennae are one of grasshoppers’ most important tools, when analyzing the world around them. The antennae allow the grasshopper to detect moisture in food and in the environment. This adaptation is very important because many of these grasshoppers inhabit very arid regions like New Mexico and Arizona. In a 1985 experiment conducted by A.C. Lewis and E.A. Bernays dehydrated insects (S. gregaria) fed on fresh moisture rich leaves over their previous food choice of dry leaves. The antennae were used to make the distinction between fresh and dry leaves (Lewis, 1979).

        The ability to detect moisture in the environment via the antennae is another important adaptation, because it allows the grasshopper to be more successful in the arid regions it often inhabits.

       Though a study by (Bernays & Wrubel 1985) showed that some species of grasshoppers could see in color and associate color with food it was later determined that none of the experiments on attraction by vision suggested a significant degree of specificity to host plants.

          Though it is still uncertain how grasshoppers locate their food over long distances it is understood that an insect already on or near a plant perceives it through chemical receptors in the antenna (Chapman & Joern, 1990). The ability to detect and distinguish food sources in the environment is another important adaptation of the antenna. This particular trait allows the grasshopper to more efficiently navigate and utilize its environment, which is very important since it is so small and has relatively less effective eyesight.

        The structure of the antenna is very important with regards to its function. The antennae are external protrusions from the head. The externality of these appendages allow for direct contact with the environment and can thus detect air born chemicals or interpret something as food without direct ingestion.