Journal archives for July 2019

July 04, 2019

Understanding My Grasshopper Slang

Before I learned about websites such as iNat or Bug Guide, I used to 'describe' my own grasshopper species so I could figure out what I was finding. For years, I pursued bug books but all of them were so vague and had little information on the diversity of grasshoppers. I know from an early age that if I was going to understand the grasshoppers, I had to do it myself.

Now what exactly made me so interested in grasshoppers? Well, when I was young, I own a variety of reptiles and to save money on buying crickets, I would go out with my brother and dad and catch a few grasshoppers from one of three fields in town. And me noticing their diversity is what sparked my interest.

Now, I said before that I created my own names for a few species. Some of these species I've found but for the most part, most of the grasshoppers I have found have not been identified yet. For those I have not found an id here, please pipe in your possible id. Here we go:

What I Called It -- Scientific Name (Common) -- Range (For unidentified grasshoppers I've seen) -- Notes

Black-winged Grasshopper -- Dissosteira carolina (Carolina Grasshopper)

Spitters -- Genus Melanoplus

Painted Grasshoppers -- Probably smaller members of Melanoplus -- Widespread -- Small grasshoppers, largest being about half an inch. I recognize them from the varying colored stripes on the throax that bend upwards towards the top in the middle, making it look like a diamond on the side. We saw many variations of these and I believe we saw multiple species.

Colored-legged Grasshoppers -- Unknown but possibly similar to Melanoplus -- Widespread in Rockies -- Small grasshoppers with transparent wings but had an excellent range of colored legs. Could've all been different species but I know they were mostly red-legged but there was also (in order of abundance) yellow, orange, blue and green.

Wingless Grasshopper -- Bradynotes obesa (Wingless Grasshopper)

Stick-Grasshoppers -- Subfamily Gomphocerinae (Stridulating Slant-faced Grasshoppers)

Tiger Grasshopper -- Unknown -- Saw frequently in Montana but not much elsewhere -- Similar to large members of Melanoplus but are more capable fliers and had two distinct yellow stripes of the top side of the wing, making it look like 'tiger' stripes.

Yellow-winged Grasshopper -- Probably Trimerotropis pallidipennis or similar species -- Widspread, saw wherever Dissosteira carolina was.

Red-winged Grasshopper -- Unknown -- Saw frequently in Montana and Utah -- The second smallest of the 'colored-winged' grasshoppers. They are usually black with vibrant red wings. In high elevations, I found red-winged grasshoppers that were very light mottled brown. I am not sure if they are the same species.

Blue-winged Grasshopper -- Unknown -- ONLY found at the lava fields rest stop between Pocatello and Idaho Falls, ID -- Small grasshopper (probably inch long females) that were black like the rocks and had vibrant royal blue wings.

Humpback Locust -- Unknown -- Found at a ranch between Greycliff and Laurel, MT -- Solid light green locust about 3 inches long. The individuals also have huge humps on the thorax.

Desert Locust -- Possibly related to Dissosteira -- Eastern Utah -- Large grasshoppers about 3 inches long that were excellent fliers. Colors ranged from a pale green to a mottled brown. They liked to hide in sagebrush.

Geyser Grasshopper -- Unknown -- Caldera region of Yellowstone National Park -- Small black and white striped grasshopper that I've only seen near geyser fields at the park.

Zebra Grasshopper -- Unknown but possibly related to the Geyser Grasshopper -- Short-grass areas of Montana -- Small black and white grasshopper with the barring going up and down, not head to wingtip. Legs are beautifully ringed black and white.

So hopefully, you can help me id some of these grasshoppers. And I can't wait to go out again and start looking for grasshoppers!

Posted on July 04, 2019 04:27 PM by birdwhisperer birdwhisperer | 0 comments | Leave a comment