Orthopteroid insects

Orthopteroidea orders represent one of the largest and earliest insect radiations, dating back some 300 mya. About 43,800 orthopteroid species have been described – representing about 4.4% of known insect species.

Orthopteroidea have incomplete metamorphosis –  they have nymphs that generally look like small adults without wings, and they grow gradually larger by shedding their exoskeleton.

Characteristics of the Orthopteroidea are:

  • unmodified mandibulate mouthparts
  • cerci, which are usually jointed
  • a large anal lobe in the hindwing
  • numerous Malpighian tubules
  • several separate ganglia in the ventral nerve-cord

There is no clear answer yet regarding the monophyly of orthopteroids and the phylogenetic relationships of the individual orders.

Drawer of leaf insects in museum collection
Orthopteroid collection

The Museum's orthopteroid collection now contains an estimated 785,824 specimens. Learn more about the collection here.

About the name

The name Orthoptera refers to the straight veins of the forewings and is derived from orthos meaning (straight) and pteron (wing).

Glossary

Hemimetabolous
The term used to describe the incomplete metamorphosis of some insects.

Cerci
Paired appendages found on the rear of many insects. May be used as sensory organs, weapons or as copulation aids.