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Spur-throated Grasshopper (Melanoplus ponderosus)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Spur-throated Grasshopper, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 2/5/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Spur-throated Grasshopper  
Picture of Spur-Throated-Grasshopper

The popular Spur-Throated Grasshopper is a pest of the highest order, ruining harvests across the Bread Basket of the continent.

Spur-Throated Grasshoppers (part of the Short-horned Grasshopper family) are the most common species of grasshopper in all of North America. Noted mostly for the damage that inflict to crops in the Midwest states, the Spur-Throated Grasshopper appears as a yellow, orange or green insect with additional coloring of brown or red. The body may be spectacularly colored in some cases, with bands, spots or blotches throughout and antennas are generally short.

The female of the species tends to lay her eggs (sometimes as many as 20 eggs) straight into the soil, where they will sit over the winter months. One generation is produced per year. These nymphs will then mature early in the summer (all year in the Southern states) and feed through the month of December only to have the process repeated again with new generations the following year.

Sput-Throated Grasshoppers will generally be found in fields and open meadows, traveling from place to place. Their reach may be past the mentioned states, as they have been known to reach as far north as southern Canada and throughout the United States. Research is underway that utilizes deliberate fungal infections that kill this species of grasshopper in an effort to control exploding population numbers.

Spur-throated Grasshopper Information

Category: Grasshopper or Cricket
Common Name: Spur-throated Grasshopper
Scientific Name: Melanoplus ponderosus

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: ponderosus

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 25 mm to 45 mm (0.975 inches to 1.755 inches)
Identifying Colors: green; brown; black
Additional Descriptors: flying, jumping, 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; Mexico

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.

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