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What makes a grasshopper spit tobacco juice?

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The grasshopper and his kinfolk are the music makers of the world of insects. Summner is their song season when their merry glee clubs strike up in every grassy patch across the land. Grasshoppers and crickets chirp their cheerful notes, and the katydid adds a tuneful phrase. Sometimes locusts join the choir with the whirring of their gauzy wings. It is worth a little trouble to catch a grasshopper and study him under a magnifying glass or a more powerful hand lens. Chances are when captured he will spit a gob or two of brownish liquid in your direction. This is one of the tricks he uses to defend himself . This so called tobacco juice is harmless to human beings. But when properly aimed, the gooey pellet may discourage a prowling field mouse or a hungry bird. At least it may force these and other natural enemies of a grasshopper to pause long enough for him to males his escape. His best defense, of course, is escape by means of giant leaps. If a six foot man could ,jump like a ... more
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