An average temperature of 74 degrees and over 2,800 hours of sunshine annually are just a few reasons that over one hundred million visit the state known for Mickey Mouse and Miami beaches. One has to wonder how many members of our fascinating (and often annoying) insect population have introduced themselves to the non-natives. Generally the state of Florida has a reputation for love bugs (AKA the “honeymoon bug” hailing from Central America) and mosquitoes, but its grasshoppers are as equally prolific and gruesome. One such species – the Eastern Lubber (Romalea microptera), seems to have escaped from Universal’s Jurassic Park River Adventure.
Named for its gait, the term lubber is derived from “lobre” – an old English word meaning lazy or clumsy. Limited in its ability to fly any significant distance as a result of its very size, the Eastern Lubber prefers to travel by walking…slowly…very, very slowly. Despite their slowness from size (males are typically 2 inches long with females averaging 3 inches in length), the Eastern Lubber is also known for its detrimental affects on landscaping. Classically referred to as a “destructive defoliator”, the Eastern Lubber has a penchant for over 100 species of plant materials. Among some of its favorite snacks are oleander, lantana, amaryllis, and a handful of vegetable varieties including peas, kale, and cabbage.
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