Ancient Egypt
Grasshoppers Of Saqqara Image Credit: Ancient Egypt
Grasshoppers Of Saqqara Image Credit: Ancient Egypt

Grasshoppers Of Saqqara

Magda van Ryneveld investigates the depictions of a common insect on the walls of Old Kingdom tombs.

Grasshoppers belong to the large order of Orthoptera. They are described as medium-sized to large insects with bulky bodies. Their hind legs are very long and modified for jumping. Orthoptera are divided into two groups according to the length of their antennae: grasshoppers and locusts (short antennae ) and crickets (long antennae).

Different families of grasshoppers and locusts exist of which the Acrididae appear to be the largest and most familiar. Even those belonging to the Acrididae differ in size, colour, etc. They are, however, all recognisable by their stout antennae, wings in most adults and hearing organs on each side of the abdomen. The abdomen of the males always turns up at the end. The hind legs usually have ‘pegs’ or ‘thorns’, which make a characteristic sound when rubbed against a strengthened vein in the fore wing. When handling the insect, they can also hurt like thorns. Acrididae are divided into thirteen sub-families – the green Common Stick Grasshopper, the brown Burrowing Grasshopper, the brown Garden Locust and many others.

Grasshoppers usually have beautiful patterns and lines by which the different families can be identified. Most often their colours are in shades of green or brown, but multi-coloured grasshoppers can also be seen, such as the yellow, black and brown Heteracis, the red and brown Rock Grasshopper and the black, yellow and red Koppie Foam Grasshopper.

Grasshoppers may appear to be very


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