KINGDOM : Animalia PHYLUM : Arthropoda CLASS : Insecta ORDER : Orthoptera SUBORDER : Caelifera SUPERFAMILY : Eumastacoidea FAMILY : Proscopiidae SUBFAMILY : Proscopiinae TRIBE : Proscopiini Not All Grasshoppers Are Pests
Confined to tropical America, the Stick Grasshoppers are a distinctive family, more likely to be confused with a stick insect than any other grasshopper. The antennae are short and the prothorax is cylindrical and longer than the femur of the forelegs. The head is greatly elongated and the wings are extremely short or absent - these grasshoppers are flightless and rely on camouflage for their protection. They are however able to jump considerable distances due to the force generated by the typically Orthopteran hind legs. Sexual dimorphism is pronounced and females are often more than twice the size of males and much more robust. Stick Grasshoppers are herbivorous and often show a certain degree of specialisation in their diet.
Like the Walking Stick insects they resemble, Stick Grasshoppers in the family Proscopiidae are long and slender and easily blend in with twigs on a tree or shrub. Most Proscopiids are brown, and have the eyes placed high up on the head, near the modest antennae.
Unlike the typical grasshoppers, they can neither fly nor leap, and rely on camouflage for their protection.
Female Stick Grasshoppers are considerably larger than the males, and have sometimes been mistaken for a different species.
This interesting family is strictly Neotropical, and in fact is found only in South America and a small adjacent area of Panama.