Difference Between Locust and Grasshopper

The main difference between locust and grasshopper is that a locust is a group of grasshoppers that is generally a solitary insect, forming large groups in certain circumstances whereas grasshopper is a plant-eater whose several species become serious pests. Furthermore, the locus, in its swarming phase, change color, shape and fertility whereas grasshoppers are always brown or green.

Locust and grasshopper are herbivorous insects. Locusts are called short-horned grasshoppers. They can make noises as well.  Both locusts and grasshoppers are bugs. Also, they have two pairs of wings.

Key Areas Covered

1. Locust
     – Definition, Characteristics, Importance
2. Grasshopper
     – Definition, Characteristics. Importance
3. What are the Similarities Between Locust and Grasshopper
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Locust and Grasshopper
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Behavior, Color, Gregarious Phase, Grasshopper, Locust

Difference Between Locust and Grasshopper- Comparison Summary

Locust – Definition, Characteristics, Importance

Locusts are a type of grasshoppers that change their color and behavior when at its high population density. They are also called short-horned grasshoppers and they belong to the family Acrididae. Generally, locusts are solitary. When they increase in number, they change their behavior as well as the habitat, becoming gregarious. The gregarious phase is called the swarming phase. Gregarious locusts change their coloration, form, physiology, behavior, and fertility. 

Difference Between Locust and Grasshopper

Figure 1: Garden Locust

The gregarious locusts are black and yellow or orange in color. They have higher metabolic rates. Gregarious locusts are migratory and they cover vast distances. They are infertile as well. After producing gregarious phase locusts, the next generation also becomes solitary.

Grasshopper – Definition, Characteristics, Importance

Grasshopper is a plant-eating insect with long hind legs used for jumping. Grasshopper is a medium sized insect in 1-7 cm. The color combination is brown, grey or green. These colors help them to merge with the environment. This is called camouflage. Males may have bright colors to attract females. 

Main Difference - Locust and Grasshopper

Figure 2: Grasshopper

The two main types of grasshoppers are long-horned grasshoppers and short-horned grasshoppers. The short-horned grasshoppers are called locusts.

Similarities Between Locust and Grasshopper

  • Locust and grasshopper are herbivorous insects.
  • They are bugs.
  • Both locust and grasshopper belong to the order Orthoptera.
  • Both are bugs that have large, compound eyes and a pair of short antennae.
  • Their mouth consists of strong mandibles.
  • They have elongated hind legs for jumping.
  • Both have two front wings and two membranous wings in the back.
  • They undergo incomplete Metamorphosis

Difference Between Locust and Grasshopper


Locust: A type of grasshoppers that change color and behavior when at its high population density

Grasshopper: A plant-eating insect with long hind legs used for jumping

Lower Classification

Locust: Suborder Caelifera 

Grasshopper: Family Acrididae

Number of Families

Locust: Single family

Grasshopper: 28 Families


Locust: Large

Grasshopper: Comparatively small


Locust: A type of grasshopper that becomes gregarious, changing the color, shape and fertility

Grasshopper: A plant-eater


Locust: Solitary insects that form large groups at favorable conditions

Grasshopper: Solitary insects


Locust: Solitary form is brown in color. Gregarious adults are pink (immature) to yellow (mature)

Grasshopper: Brown or green

Coverage Distance

Locust: Covers vast distances

Grasshopper: Covers short distances

Fly or Hop

Locust: Can fly

Grasshopper: Only hops


Locust: Generally eats crops and other vegetation

Grasshopper: Eats grass


Locusts are short-horned grasshoppers that become gregarious at higher population densities. Grasshoppers are plant-eaters that can only cover short distances. But, locusts can fly, covering vast distances. The main difference between locust and grasshopper is their behavior.


1. “Grasshopper – Facts, Diet & Habitat Information.” Animal Corner, Available From
2. “Locust.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 28 Sept. 2017, Available From

Image Courtesy:

1. “Garden locust (Acanthacris ruficornis)” By Charlesjsharp – Own work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Plant-Nature-Leaf-Grasshopper-3203225” (CC0) via Max Pixel

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things. She has a keen interest in writing articles regarding science.

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