Sitting at my desk, my mind on many tasks, I glance out the window to see a large grasshopper at the front door. My mind immediately goes back to the 1972-1975 Kung Fu TV series with David Carrodine. This Shaolin Monk wooed audiences with his martial arts skills, and lessons taught him by his Shaolin Master named Po. Po called him “Grasshopper”. Grabbing my macro lens, I open the door and carefully lie down to photograph this intriguing creature. About that time the Editor walks by the front door and sees me laying on the ground. All she could think was that I walked outside and had a heart attack. Imagine the relief she felt when I sat up with my camera wondering what all the fuss was about.
The grasshopper that “Kung Fu’d” me was a Eastern Lubber Grasshopper. “There are three species of Lubbers in the US (Horse, Plains and Eastern). (The name "lubber" comes from an old English word meaning "clumsy"--in the same way that a sailor would refer to a newbie who stumbles around on a boat as a "land-lubber".)” At nearly three inches long, the Lubber is probably the largest grasshopper you will see in the U.S. Per an online article by Lenny Flack’s Daily Bucket: Wild Florida—Lubber Grasshopper we find this following information: “Lubber Grasshoppers contain toxins in their bodies that are strong enough to kill a small bird. When larger birds or small mammals eat a Lubber, they get violently sick, throw up, and learn to never touch another one. The toxin isn't harmful to humans, but if you pick up a Lubber, it is likely to produce a glob of brown liquid from its mouth (most people call it "tobacco spit"). This liquid is harmless, though it can make a brown stain on your skin or clothes--it is a foul-tasting anti-predator mechanism. If you persist in annoying the hopper, it will next produce a frothy foam from small holes in its thorax, accompanied by a surprisingly loud hissing sound. Once again this is harmless--it is intended to startle and scare a potential predator. Despite their large size and impressive threat displays, Lubbers cannot bite and are completely harmless to humans. (I've kept them as pets.) But their toxins make them virtually invulnerable to small predators. Only a bird known as the loggerhead shrike preys on them regularly--it kills the grasshopper by biting off its head, then impales the headless corpse on a tree thorn to let the sun bake out all the toxins. The leading causes of death for adult Lubbers seems to be getting run over by cars and getting stepped on by humans.”
I learned a little Kung Fu wisdom from “Grasshopper”! Always let the Editor know when you plan to go shoot macro outside to prevent heart attacks. Try to keep cool this week..take a lesson from the House Finches. Blessings. Harry