Heard but not seen … until now


Grasshopper on the North York Moors

Just the other day I saw a Grasshopper for the first time ever – I hear them a lot and follow the sound, which, when I get close, stops.  It then starts up again nearby.  I’ve stalked grasshoppers, lain in wait, scanned from a distance with binoculars but never before been lucky.

Grasshopper on sandy soil

If I’m honest I saw it rather by accident – I was looking and following the grasshopper rasping sounds (called stridulation), but was searching on tall stems of grass, and lower down in the new green grass stalks, but there it was on the edge of the moorland path.  I think its movement drew my attention.

I spotted my first grasshopper

Seeing one brings back memories of visiting Aztecs, an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts where I saw a stone Grasshopper carved in Cornelian.  The features carved in this red volcanic rock are detailed and show the grasshopper with its legs flexed as if it is ready to jump.  Grasshoppers were abundant in the fields in Mesoamerica after the rainy season and the sculptor was obviously able to study them closely.

Aztec Grasshopper carved in Cornelian

There was another grasshopper type carving, just called Insect, in a green, serpentine-like stone.  They left quite an impression on me.

Aztec Grasshopper type insect carved in green stone

I’m hoping to carve a Grasshopper sculpture myself, after finding my very own subject, and in imagining it, trying not to be too heavily influenced by the Aztec ones.  Difficult!





  1. Comment by Caroline:

    My husband came across a bright green Conehead (cricket) on our drive today. We sometimes find them upstairs in our home at this time of year – some have wings, I gather. What fine sculptural renditions you saw: it will indeed be very interesting, Jennifer, to see how your own grasshopper sculpture emerges!

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      I’ve just had to look up Conehead – what a beauty! And upstairs too! Did they keep you awake with their noise? They are a fascinating order of insects – I’m trying to learn the names of the jaw parts and how to identify the many different species. Came across some grasshopper fossils too!

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