ORTHOPTERA & RELATIVES
Included in this group are the following six orders: Blattodea (cockroaches), Grylloblattodea (rock crawlers), Mantodea (praying mantises), Mantophasmatodea (heel-walkers), Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids), and Phasmida (stick and leaf insects).
With over 30,000 species, Orthoptera represent a large and diverse radiation of life. They are found throughout the world and are often conspicuous with interesting colors and fascinating morphologies. Many people are also probably familiar with the calls males produce to attract females. These songs are specific to each species and it is often easier to identify them by their call than by the specimen. While some are predatory, most feed on plants with some species even reaching plague proportions.
Orthoptera and their relatives are a significant portion of the Florida State Collection of Arthropods (FSCA), containing approximately 110,000 specimens of over 1,000 species in almost 650 drawers. While specimens from most regions of the world are represented, the strongest holdings are in the eastern United States, Central America, and West Indies.
There have been many significant donations over the years, the most notable of which are the Thomas J. Walker and H.F. Strohecker collections. Walker’s collection is comprised of 145 drawers and over 1500 vials of voucher and reference specimens for over 26,000 recordings of singing insects.