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Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Differential Grasshopper.

 Updated: 10/15/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The medium-sized Differential Grasshopper is known both for its chevron markings and its destructive appetite.



Differential Grasshopper Videos



Differential Grasshopper beginning to hide from a Bold Jumping Spider


Differential Grasshopper chilling on a tomato plant

Most prevalent in the central U.S., this grasshopper has distinguishing chevron stripes on its 'thighs'. The black pattern is not unique to this species, but it is rare to see on other grasshoppers. Their back legs also have spines on them. They have short, horned antennae and produce a buzzing noise by rubbing their hind wings against their forewings. Their tan and black coloring help them blend in with the tall dry grasses that they eat.

This species is well-adapted to urban living and can make a home in empty lots, gardens and overgrown areas. They also live in meadows, grasslands, and other open areas. Females lay eggs in large quantities and the larvae hatch in spring.

Adults are most active in the summer and are social, often moving around with other types of grasshoppers. They can be considered agricultural pests because they feed on crops such as corn, grapes, alfalfa and fruits. Their incessant chewing on plant parts ruins harvests. They also feed on ragweed (an allergen to many people) so they can be beneficial in a sense as well.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Orthoptera
        Family: Acrididae
          Genus: Melanoplus
            Species: differentialis
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Melanoplus differentialis
Category: Grasshopper or Cricket
Size (Adult; Length): 28mm to 44mm (1.09in to 1.72in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: beige, black, ivory, green, white, yellow/ pink
Descriptors: stripes, chevrons, spines, harmful
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.