Have you seen a medium-sized green grasshopper or a large brown grasshopper in the Los Angeles area? If you have, you've seen a gray bird grasshopper (Schistocerca nitens, aka Schistocerca vaga). Take a look at how they change.
The grasshopper molts its exoskeleton as it gets larger and with each molt it's coloring gradually changes.
The gray bird grasshopper is the largest insect in the Los Angeles Basin. It is typically solitary and doesn't eat that much. Some research with other grasshoppers has shown that grasshopper droppings actually are important fertilizer returning important nutrients back into the soil.
We regard the arrival of these insects as a true sign of summer.
See other local California insects - Valley Carpenter Bees