Though acridids are generally polyphagous, they are not indiscriminate feeders as is observed, on the basis of extensive studies on several species of grasshoppers likeEyprepocnemis alacris alacris (Serv.),Oxya nitidula (Walker), etc. The feeding behaviour of such herbivorous insects in general is of immense importance because of their direct relevance to applied ecological problems. These insects live in environments with abundance of food, but their suitability is differently related to each available plant species in the environment. Hence the feeding behaviour patterns are seen to be generally influenced by several factors such as the morphological correlates of the insect as well as the physico-chemical factors of the host plant.
In this context, consideration is being given to, (a) physical factors of the host plant such as the thickness of the leaf lamina, the presence of trichomes, the position of the leaf blade, the general colour pattern and the effect of blinding, (b) morphological correlates of the insect such as mandibular modifications in relation to the host, its changes during post-embryonic development and their role in the shift of the host, the foregut armature and its influence on host selection, (c) the influence of chemicals like silica, phagostimulants and deterrents of the hosts on the insect feeding behaviour and (d) the role of sensory structures of the insect in the detection and discrimination of the host.
In addition to the discussion on the general pattern of feeding, the factors responsible for the initiation, continuation and termination of feeding are also analysed.