The Orthoptera are an order of insects with incomplete metamorphosis, including the grasshoppers, crickets, locusts, and katydids. Many insects in this order produce sound (known as stridulation) by rubbing their wings against each other or their legs, the wings or legs containing rows of corrugated bumps. Their ears, located in the front legs, are interconnected in such a way that they are able to locate each other by sound.
Orthopterans have two pairs of wings – the forewings are narrower than the hind wings and hardened at the base. They are held overlapping the abdomen at rest. The hind wing is membranous and held folded fan-like under the forewings when at rest. They have mandibulate mouthparts, large compound eyes, antennae length varies with species. Their hind legs are enlarged for jumping.
Orthopterans develop by incomplete metamorphosis. Most orthopterans lay their eggs in the ground or on vegetation. The eggs hatch and the young nymphs resemble adults but lack wings and at this stage are often called hoppers. Through successive moults the nymphs develop wings buds until their final moult into a mature adult with fully developed wings.
The number of moults varies between species. Growth is also very variable and may take a few weeks to some months depending on food availability and weather conditions.
Orthoptera as Food
The Orthoptera are the only insects considered kosher in Judaism. Although the Bible may be read as stating that all Orthoptera are kosher except those, such as the mole cricket, that do not jump, halakhic authorities state that only four species known in Yemen are kosher.