Stages in the moulting of the Short-horned Grasshopper

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At 40-70 mm long the Short-horned Grasshopper (Valanga nigricornis) is the largest grasshopper seen in Singapore. The early nymph stages are much smaller and wingless. This final moult was documented by Lena Chow two years ago.

The grasshopper hung on to a branch of the Portulacaria afra just before the moult (top). As the old skin split open along the back, the grasshopper slipped out, assisted by gravity (above). The wings, yet to be expanded can be seen behind the thorax, somewhat curled.

It clung on to a branch below and turned around to face upwards. The wings slowly began to expand as seen in the following images below.

Once fully expanded, the wings were folded along the body (below)…

…and the skin of the adult grasshopper progressively deepened and darkened, as seen in the specimen below by YC Wee.

Lena Chow
Singapore
November 2014

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