Literally hundreds of different creatures live in our backyards. One reason we do not seem many of them is they are masters of disguise. One such animal is the toothpick grasshopper.
This odd grasshopper looks unlike any grasshopper you have probably ever seen. It is slender and looks much like a twig, plant stem, or blade of grass and is pointed. Consequently, if it remains motionless, more often than not, you will walk by and never see it. However, if you happen to see something out of place shaped like a sliver, has eyes and three pairs of legs, you have probably discovered a toothpick grasshopper.
The toothpick grasshopper often lives its entire life on its favorite food—tall grass. However, from time to time it will venture out into a grassy lawn.
If this grasshopper is flushed, it tries to either hop or fly away. Should it fly, it will not go far as its wings are very short.
I first met the toothpick grasshopper in my backyard some nine years ago while on a walkabout the back of my property with my daughter and wife. Needless to say, we had no idea such a bizarre insect was living in the yard.
The other day I encountered my second toothpick grasshopper while participating in a butterfly count on the Rum Creek Wildlife Management Area. In the meantime, I have seen literally hundreds of grasshoppers, but not a toothpick grasshopper. This tells this is because I am not very observant, its camouflage is very effective, or it is an uncommon resident in my neck of the woods.
Keep your eyes peeled, you may have toothpick grasshoppers living in your yard too.