The sizable Plains Lubber Grasshopper makes a big impression thanks to its heft and tiny, pink wings.
Though it can leap like a champion, the native Plains Lubber Grasshopper does not fly. There are a handful of color variations: some are either dark or light brown while others are green. All have small, speckled wings near the middle of the body that range from blush to bright pink. An ivory line stretches down both sides of the head and thorax. The long, rear legs have a black 'knee' joint. Two thin ivory stripes run down the center of the back, with small ivory dots on either side of it. The dark head may be gray, blue-gray, or dark green.
This species is common in the Western states and provinces. They are omnivores that eat both plant matter and insects. Look for them in prairies with low-growing grasses and among plants where they can both blend in and feed. They can also be seen in areas gravelly areas where pavement and landscape meet.
Historically, Plains Lubber Grasshoppers had been once been an agricultural pest to crops like cotton. Now they are not found in sufficient numbers to be a significant threat to any crop. They sometimes have population booms for a few years, but are then scarcely sighted in years after. It is possible that eggs delay hatching for a year or two until better conditions occur. Hatching occurs in the spring, and after a series of molting, adults are mature by late summer. Thanks to the visibly large size of this species' cells and DNA, the Plains Lubber Grasshopper helped scientists understand chromosomes in the early years of genetic research.
Scientific Name: Bracystola magna
Grasshopper or Cricket
Size (Adult; Length): 45mm to 55mm (1.76in to 2.15in)
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.