Tag Archives: Melanoplus

Melanoplus nanus Scudder

Small Spur-throat Grasshopper (Melanoplus nanus)

The Small Spur-throat Grasshopper was described in 1898, it was apparently only found in few places in the Alameda – , the Marin – , and the San Mateo Counties in California, USA.

The species inhabited dry grassy hillsides.

The males reached sizes of about 1,4 cm, the females were slightly larger, both sexes were fuscous light-brown colored.

The Small Spur-throat Grasshopper is now considered possibly extinct, however, reasons for this assumption are not given.

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References:

[1] Samuel H. Scudder: Supplement to a revision of the Melanopli. Proceedings of the Davenport Academy of Natural Sciences 7: 157-205. 1899

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Depiction from: ‘Samuel H. Scudder: Supplement to a revision of the Melanopli. Proceedings of the Davenport Academy of Natural Sciences 7: 157-205. 1899’

(public domain)

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edited: 31.08.2019

Melanoplus pegasus Hebard

Pegasus Spur-throated Grasshopper (Melanoplus pegasus)

The Pegasus Spur-throated Grasshopper was described in 1919, it was found on some small islands in the Okeefenokee Swamp in Georgia, where it inhabited dense thickets of vegetation.

The species is apparently very closely related to the Larger Fork-tail Grasshopper (Melanoplus furcatus Scudder), and was also assigned to that species as a subspecies. It differs from this species by its more solid coloration and by the form of the male cerci.

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References:

[1] Morgan Hebard: New genera and species of Melanopli found within the United States (Orthoptera; Acrididae). Transactions of the American Entomological Society 44: 141-169. 1918

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edited: 31.08.2019

Melanoplus spretus (Walsh)

Rocky Mountain Locust (Melanoplus spretus)

The Rocky Mountain Locust inhabited a large range., including Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan in Canada and Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming in the USA.  

The full-grown adults reached lengths of about 3 cm.  

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The species formerly formed seasonally swarms of giant sizes, which then devastated large areas of North America, destroying countless crops, and causing famines.  

It is said that the locust plague did not spared cotton clothing or leather when found, and it is furthermore claimed, that they may have even eaten wooden fencing posts.  

These last assertions, however, are probably pure fantasy.  

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The last large swarms were recorded in the years between 1873 and 1877, the last specimens were finally collected in Manitoba, Canada in 1902.  

The reasons for the extinction of this once so common species are not well known, but it has been argued that plowing and irrigation by settlers in the Great Plains disrupted their natural life cycle in the areas they lived in, so it is reported that farmers destroyed over 150 egg cases per square inch while plowing, harrowing or flooding. [1]  

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References:  

[1] Jeffrey A. Lockwood: Locust: The Devastating Rise and Mysterious Disappearance of the Insect that Shaped the American Frontier. New York: Basic Books 2004  

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male
females laying eggs 
growth stages

Depictions from: ‘Francis Huntington Snow: The more destructive grasshoppers of Kansas. University of Kansas Bulletin of the Department of Entomology (Topeka, KS: J. S. Parks, October 1897)’

(not in copyright) 

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edited: 13.03.2017