Hunger the Giant, titular protagonist of my short novel in progress, is involved with the hoppers today. Research has turned up a number of great images– giantism was all the rage in the pioneer times– and I am sharing a few with you.
In 1874 and 75 plagues of grasshoppers fell upon the new settlers of the Great Plains. They darkened the skies, fell in drifts several feet thick, and ate everything they could chew, including the wool off a sheep’s back and the wooden handles of tools.
I suspect the plague of hoppers was a direct result of changes in the ecosystem, specifically the catastrophic decline in the passenger pigeon population.
I don’t know the story of the wounded hopper above, though I wish I did.
The real insects, like practically everything in nature, are amazing. To walk through the prairie in high summer is to enter a grasshopper kingdom. Their stridulating keeps the beat of the summer song cycle and as you walk the hoppers explode from your steps in every direction, setting before you carpet of motion as they sculpt the force of gravity the grasses defy.