Nature

On grouchy grasshoppers

Painted grasshoppers

Grasshoppers … the negligent fiddler of Aesop’s discourse on responsibility who suffers from its improvidence… an athletic pest that like many of its brethren flaunts a flashy disposition… mostly vegetarian unless forced to turn omnivorous… wearing a rather amused expression that permeates through those compound eyes and large jaws…

Startles are how grasshoppers mostly interact with us… whether jumping and flying out of their camouflaged hideouts… or the realization while staring at a plant that there is something more to it than its own static limbs… there’s dread and powerlessness as well, if they decide to congregate in large numbers and wreak havoc upon the toils of those tilling the soils…

With the onset of rains, urban biodiversity springs up in a sort of haste to make the most of this favourable interlude between searing heat and suffocating smog… and I duly head out to patches of wilderness still awaiting their pillage by real estate to check out the jamboree… an extremely humid afternoon found me chasing larks and pipits, and sitting down to hydrate, a flash of red traced an momentary arc at the eyeline…  

It took me a few seconds to figure out the location of the critter responsible, a painted grasshopper in between transit to its floral destinations, its bright yellow and turquoise stripes provided camouflage by shards of broken beer bottles on a broken road… once acclimatized to the eye, I started looking for more and soon enough, one could easily find them frolicking around milkweeds… the plant is left alone by most for its poisonous sap, but this one works around it and relishes in its toxins, making itself a poison for predators in the process, squirting it if threatened or letting it slosh around inside the body… stalking a few on their slow crawls, I was winding up for the day when I found a couple mating quite unabashedly on top of a milkweed, reaping the perks of being unpalatable…

‘Tis a unique way of locomotion from the human perspective, jumping and flying, maybe that is why grasshoppers are attributed as reckless in parables, a mix of awe and jealousy… akin to many insects,  they mate and die, leaving the offspring to fend for itself, and leaving one to ponder upon the sense, or senselessness, of these existences…

Painted grasshopper

Painted grasshopper

Painted grasshopper

Painted grasshopper

Painted grasshoppers

Musings on painted grasshoppers (Poekilocerus pictus), Noida, Uttar Pradesh

Author: Parth Joshi

Mountain lover ⛰️ | Hiker 🥾| Runner 🏃‍♂️ | Cyclist 🚴 | Photographer 📷... allured by the outdoors, the author is a quintessential lost soul craving for the outdoors while suffering in a desk job...

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