How do Differential Grasshoppers deal with the cold nights of late autumn in Texas? Well, they find a spot on a branch or stem, and just ride the dark, chilly night out fully exposed.

Differential Grasshoppers in the early morning light.

The cold air makes the grasshoppers immobile and unresponsive, but they are not frozen. The temperatures did not drop below freezing on this night. Instead, they are in a state of torpor induced by the cool night air. Their body temperatures have dropped far below normal. Their exoskeletons are so chilled that the morning fog condenses on their bodies.

The camera’s flash exposes their actual state. Cold, dew covered, and immobile.

Things will be different for the grasshoppers in just a couple of hours. The warmth of the rising sun will reanimate them. By noon there will be hundreds of these insects hopping and jumping in every patch of tall grass.

Some grasshoppers were locked in unusual positions.
It will be another hour or so before this grasshopper will begin to stir.

Observation Details

County Dallas
City Dallas
Date Nov 21, 2012
Time of Day Morning
Temperature Cold (less than 50°F/10°C)
Weather Clear
Habitat Recreation-Park
Type of Behavior Congregating
Gender Mixed
Maturity Adult
Observer Chris Jackson
Main Article Differential Grasshopper Observation Location