differential grasshopper

(Melanoplus differentialis)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

differential grasshopper

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common. Significant crop pest.

Flight/Season

July to October. One generation.

Habitat

Low, moist areas, crop borders, roadsides.

Size

1 to 13 16

Photo by Alfredo Colon
 
Identification

Differential grasshopper is a common, large, long-winged, spur-throated, short-horned grasshopper. It occurs across the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, and in California, Mexico, and Ontario Canada. It is common in the southern half of Minnesota, where it is at the northern extent of its range.

The body of the male is 1 to 13 16 long and yellowish-brown or army green. The female is larger than the male.

There are no pale stripes on the upper (dorsal) part of the pronotum. On the sides of the pronotum there are 3 narrow, black, vertical grooves. There is a distinct, spiny bump (spur) at the base of the neck, between the base of the forelegs. The antennae are usually yellow, sometimes reddish-yellow, and are no more than ½ the length of the body. The pair of long appendages on the last abdominal segment (cerci) are boot-shaped with a heel, but this is not visible without a hand lens.

On the middle pair of legs, the foot (tarsus) is divided into two segments. On the hind pair of legs, the narrow upper portion (the outer face) of the hind third leg segment (femur) is yellow. The narrow lower portion (the inner face) of the hind femur is yellow. The middle portion of the femur, the broad area between the outer face and inner face, is grooved in a distinct, black, herringbone pattern.The fourth segment (tibia) of the hind leg is yellow with black, tooth-like spines. The remaining tibia are yellowish.

The wings are long, projecting beyond the tip of the abdomen when at rest.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Food

Forbs and grasses, especially plants in the Aster family (Asteraceae), including giant ragweed, common sunflower, and prickly lettuce.

 
Life Cycle

The female thrusts her ovipositor into sod or rank vegetation and deposits a pod containing 45 to 194 eggs. The pods are curved and are about 1½ long and ¼ in diameter. She continues depositing egg pods, ultimately laying up to 600 or more eggs. The eggs hatch in the late spring when plants are green, most over a period of about 14 days. The nymphs mature into adults in about 32 days. Nymphal development is well synchronized, and most transform into adults in just a few days.

 
Behavior

Differential grasshopper is a strong flier.

 
Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 7, 19, 24, 27, 29, 30.
 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Order:

Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, katydids)

 

Suborder:

Caelifera (grasshoppers)

 

No Rank:

Acridomorpha

 

Superfamily:

Acridoidea

 

Family:

Acrididae (short-horned grasshoppers)

 

Subfamily:

Melanoplinae (spur-throated grasshoppers)

 

Tribe:

Melanoplini

 
Subordinate Taxa

differential grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis differentialis)

differential grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis nigricans) (?)

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

differential grasshopper

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Femur

In insects, the largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. In humans, the thigh bone.

 

Pronotum

The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Alfredo Colon
       
  differential grasshopper   differential grasshopper
       
  differential grasshopper   differential grasshopper
       
  differential grasshopper   differential grasshopper
       
  differential grasshopper   differential grasshopper
       
Margot Avey
       

This photo was taken in my neighbors back yard in St Louis Park, MN. Have never seen anything like it.

  differential grasshopper    
       
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   

Female

  differential grasshopper   differential grasshopper
       

Male and Female

  differential grasshopper    
       
       

 

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Slideshows
   
  Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis)
Bill Keim
 
  Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis)  
     
  Melanoplus differentialis (Differential Grasshopper)
Allen Chartier
 
  Melanoplus differentialis (Differential Grasshopper)  

 

slideshow

       
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Other Videos
 
  Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis)
David Podgor
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 23, 2012

Differential grasshopper also known as Melanoplus differentialis, found in Montgomery Village, Maryland in August 2012. For more information on this species, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_grasshopper

   
       
  Differential Grasshopper curiosity
Carol Snow Milne
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 21, 2013

Large 1.50 inch long Melanoplus differentialis grasshopper is curious about my ruler and likes to bite it and is uncertain how to walk on this unusual new shiny slippery surface. Eastern Pennsylvania.

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
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Alfredo Colon
September 2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

differential grasshopper


Alfredo Colon
August 2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

differential grasshopper


Alfredo Colon
8/19/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

differential grasshopper


Alfredo Colon
8/12/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

differential grasshopper


Alfredo Colon
8/5/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

differential grasshopper


Margot Avey
7/17/2020

Location: St. Louis Park, MN

differential grasshopper


         
         
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