two-striped grasshopper

(Melanoplus bivittatus)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

two-striped grasshopper


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Very common and very widespread across North America. Common throughout Minnesota.


Later June to early October


Upland fields, wood margins, marshes.


Male: 1 to 13 16

Female: 17 16 to 23 16

          Photo by Bill Reynolds

This is a large, very common and widespread, long-winged, spur-throated, short-horned grasshopper. It is highly variable in appearance but a few distinctive features, and its near ubiquity, make it relatively easy to identify.

The overall coloration is usually yellowish-green to brown, rarely light green, with dark markings. The female is larger than the male.

The face is vertical. The top of the face is rounded in profile. The antennae are yellowish-brown to brown and are no more than ½ the length of the body.

The plate covering the upper side of the thorax (pronotum) is flat above, not keeled, and broadly rounded at the end (posteriorly). It does not project over the abdomen. The upper side and upper lateral portions are blackish or brownish. A pair of pale horizontal stripes extend from the above the compound eyes, over the head, and across the top of the lateral lobe of the pronotum, ending abruptly at the hindmost ridge (principle sulcus). There is a distinct, spiny bump (spur) at the base of the neck, between the base of the forelegs.

There is a pair of flat, round, hearing organs (tympani) on the sides of the first abdominal segment. The lower end plate beneath the genitalia (the subgenital plate) is bulbous. On the male, the top edge of the subgenital plate abruptly curves upward. The sensory appendages at the end of the abdomen (cerci) are roughly boot shaped. On the female the ovipositor is short.

The wings are long, brown or blackish, and well developed. They extend to the tip or almost to the tip of the abdomen when at rest. The forewings (tegmina) are dark and are not spotted. They have a pair of pale, horizontal stripes that appear as a continuation of the stripes on the pronotum and head. The stripes converge at the end of the tegmina forming a triangle. The hindwings are clear, not banded or patterned, and are roughened on the upper surface.

On the hind pair of legs, the outer face of the robust, third segment (femur) is dark on the upper half, dull yellow on the lower half. It is not banded. The dark and yellow regions are sharply demarcated. On all of the legs, the end section corresponding to the foot (tarsus) is divided into three segments and is arched in the middle. The hind tibia may be yellowish, greenish, or dark. They are never red. They have an outer row of 15 or more spines. The spines, at least at the tip, are black.

The description above refers M. b. bivittatus, the interior west subspecies. On M. b. bivittatus, the eastern and west coast subspecies, the overall coloration is often green. The hind femur is not sharply bicolored and may have a herringbone pattern. The hind tibia are always red.



Larval Food


Adult Food

A wide variety of mostly forbs but also grasses.

Life Cycle

The female deposits a clutch of 50 to 108 eggs in the soil at the base of a plant. The eggs overwinter and hatch in the early spring.


They produce a low buzzing sound by rubbing the roughened hindwings against the hardened forewings.

Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 7, 19, 22, 24, 27, 29, 30.

Melanoplus bivittatus femoratus, the eastern and west coast subspecies, and M. b. bivittatus, the interior west subspecies, both occur in the state. Where the subspecies come in contact they often intergrade but in most areas one subspecies displaces the other.


The genus Melanoplus contains as many as 239 species, all of which occur in North America. It is likely to be split in the future into nine to nineteen or even more genera.



Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, katydids)



Caelifera (grasshoppers)


No Rank:







Acrididae (short-horned grasshoppers)



Melanoplinae (spur-throated grasshoppers)




Subordinate Taxa

two-striped grasshopper (Melanoplus bivittatus bivittatus)

two-striped grasshopper (Melanoplus bivittatus femoratus)




two-striped grasshopper

yellow-striped grasshopper









One of a pair of small sensory appendages at the end of the abdomen of many insects and other arthropods. In Odonata, one of the upper pair of claspers. Plural: cerci.



On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.



A long needle-like tube on the abdomens of some female insects, used to inject eggs into soil or plant stems.



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



The modified, leathery front wing of some insects that protects the hindwing. It may also serve as a camouflage, a defensive display, or a sound board. Plural: tegmina.



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



An external hearing structure. In reptiles and amphibians, the circular, disk-like membrane that covers the ear opening. In insects, the membrane covering the air sac and sensory neurons. Plural: tympani.






Visitor Photos
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Alfredo Colon
  two-striped grasshopper    
Bill Reynolds

Female. She is chewing on Elderberry leaves.

  two-striped grasshopper   two-striped grasshopper
  two-striped grasshopper    Photos


  two-striped grasshopper   two-striped grasshopper



  Two-striped Grasshopper (Melanoplus bivittatus)
Andree Reno Sanborn



Visitor Videos
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Other Videos
  Two-striped Grasshopper

Published on Jul 6, 2012

This video of a Two-striped Grasshopper (Melanoplus bivittatus) was filmed by one of our naturalists, Kent McFarland. Read his accompanying blog post "Jumping Gluttons" here:

  Two-striped Grasshopper (Acrididae: Melanoplus bivittatus) Preparing to Oviposit
Carl Barrentine

Published on Sep 26, 2009

Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (26 September 2009).

  Two-striped Grasshopper (Acrididae: Melanoplus bivittatus) Mating
Carl Barrentine

Published on Sep 7, 2009

Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (06 September 2009).

  Two-striped Grasshopper (Acrididae: Melanoplus bivittatus) Female
Carl Barrentine

Published on Sep 2, 2010

Photographed near Fisher, Minnesota (25 August 2010). Thank you to David Ferguson ( for confirming the identity of this specimen!

  Macro footage of the two-striped grasshopper Melanoplus Bivittatus eating

Published on Jan 21, 2017




Visitor Sightings
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Be sure to include a location.

Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

two-striped grasshopper

Bill Reynolds

Location: Pennington Co.

Female. She is chewing on Elderberry leaves.

two-striped grasshopper





Created: 8/5/2017

Last Updated:

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