The Pincer Grasshopper is grey in colour with black blotches on its wing and leg. The type of Calliptamus can’t be determined from the photograph.
They grasshoppers have similar ranges, occurring in southern parts of Portugal and Spain, Italy and Greece, Africa, as well as parts of Western Asia.
The White Banded Grasshopper usually inhabits wetlands like reed belts, ruderal (disturbed ground) vegetation, salt marshes, riverside strips, ditches, seldom mown grasslands etc., especially in low and hot regions, often along the coast. The one pictured was encountered at the lower part of the dyke (hence the barnacles) protecting the Alvor estuary fresh water lagoons from the sea.
The Pincer Grasshoppers in contrast thrive in warm dry habitats with sparse vegetation cover such as grasslands and rocky steppes, old quarries, gravel pits, rock-strewn areas beside rivers, sand dunes and fallow land. This was found on the limestone pavement topography on the coastal path between Carvoeiro and Ferragudo.
Notes To jump, the grasshopper’s hind legs act like miniature catapults. When it bends its legs at the knee, a mechanism within the knee works like a spring, storing up energy. When the grasshopper is ready to jump, it relaxes the leg muscles, allowing the spring to release flinging it into the air. When in the air, it opens its wings often with a flash of colour, and flies off for a short distance. When they land they will depend on their camouflage to hide, but with a bit of luck they can be found, and photographed.
The are famous for their chirping sound (called stridulation) made by males to attract mates, which they do by rubbing a series of pegs on their hind legs against their front wings, much like a violinist rubbing the bow against their violin strings.
Grasshoppers have two antennae which they use to smell and sense humidity, and small pinchers to tear off food such as grasses, leaves and unfortunately for farmers, cereal crops. They can eat half its body weight in vegetation each day, and have being doing so for a long time, as they are one of the most ancient living group of chewing herbivorous insects, dating back around 250 million years! A problem arises however if there are too many grasshoppers trying to feed on a limited food supply. If this happens they can transform into locusts and form swarms seeking out greenery to feed upon. Large swarms become plagues that can devastate crops.