The crayfish is a crustacean that looks like a small lobster. It lives on the muddy or rocky bottoms of quiet, running streams and creeks. The grasshopper is an insect that lives on land. Both grasshoppers and crayfish are arthropods, a phylum of animals that arose 500 million years ago during the Cambrian period and now comprise 83% of all animal species. All crustacean ancestors began life in the oceans. The crayfish’s ancestors moved to fresh water, the grasshopper’s became terrestrial. But there are similarities between them.
Crayfish and grasshoppers have compound eyes, though the crayfish’s eyes are at the ends of stalks. They both have antenna which help them sense the world, and bilateral symmetry, which means their left and right sides are mirror images of each other. They both have an exoskeleton, and a segmented body separated roughly into a head, a thorax and an abdomen. Appendages are attached to the body segments. Both crayfish and grasshoppers have three pair of mouth appendages, and eat vegetable matter, though the crayfish’s diet is more omnivorous. The viscera of a crayfish includes the brain, heart, and gut, as does the viscera of a grasshopper. Both of them use hemolymph instead of blood, which directly delivers nutrients to the organs. Both grasshoppers and crayfish are found in Asia, Australia, North and South America, and Europe.
Both crayfish and grasshoppers reproduce sexually, though with important differences. Both lay eggs. Crayfish eggs are fertilized externally while the grasshopper’s eggs are fertilized internally. Crayfish larvae stay with their mother for a time while the grasshopper gives no parental care.
Both juvenile crayfish and grasshopper nymphs molt many times until they reach adult size. As the exoskeleton of an arthropod can’t grow with the animal, it must be shed from time to time. A crayfish molts even after it becomes an adult, but a fully grown grasshopper doesn’t. Like most arthropods, crayfish and grasshoppers are small animals. The crayfish grows to about 7 inches in length, and most grasshoppers don’t grow more than two and a half inches long.
Both crayfish and grasshoppers are eaten in cultures all over the world. Crayfish are much prized as a food in France, in meals like crawfish Americaine and crawfish croutes, and in the southern United States in meals like crawfish etoufee and crawfish pie. Grasshoppers are also eaten, especially in their swarming, locust guise. Locusts are grasshoppers that gather into swarms and do great damage to crops. Locusts are also Kosher.
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