Insect Identification logo

Red-Legged Grasshopper (Melanoplus femurrubrum)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Red-Legged Grasshopper, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 2/10/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Red-Legged Grasshopper  
Picture of Red-Legged-Grasshopper
Picture of Red-Legged-Grasshopper Picture of Red-Legged-GrasshopperPicture of Red-Legged-GrasshopperPicture of Red-Legged-GrasshopperPicture of Red-Legged-Grasshopper

The Red-Legged Grasshopper are primary consumers in the food web. The feast on crops and are food for hungry fowl.

The Red-Legged Grasshopper flies as part of a swarm and, when they land on crops, they can decimate the field leaving the farmer with nothing to sell. Soybeans, alfalfa, wheat, barley and other grains are all part of this species' diet. For this reason, they are considered an agricultural pest. They are found in wild, natural settings also, but their appetite for human produce has gained them a reputation.

In addition to their negative impact on the food harvest, Red-Legged Grasshoppers can carry immature tapeworms and other wild bird parasites inside them. When a quail or wild turkey eats infected ones, those tapeworms and parasites can transfer to the bird's bloodstream and grow, thereby infecting the bird. Grasshoppers have natural enemies that help control their population in the wild. They can die from fungal or bacterial infections as well as from parasitic nematodes.

Females lay their fertilized eggs in soil. The numerous eggs hatch in the following spring and the nymphs start to feed. They will be full-grown adults in about 3 months and can remain active until that coming winter. If the spring season sees heavy rainfall, many eggs won't hatch. Dry springs, on the other hand beget large outbreaks that are difficult to control.

Picture of the Red-Legged Grasshopper
Picture of the Red-Legged Grasshopper

Red-Legged Grasshopper Information

Category: Grasshopper or Cricket
Common Name: Red-Legged Grasshopper
Scientific Name: Melanoplus femurrubrum
Other Name(s): Red-Legged Locust

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Orthoptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Acrididae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Melanoplus
       Arrow graphic Species: femurrubrum

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 15 mm to 35 mm (0.585 inches to 1.365 inches)
Identifying Colors: brown, black, white, red, pink, green, tan
Additional Descriptors: flying, chirping, buzzing, harmful

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; 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; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that 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. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

Images Gallery


BugFinder: What is it?