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 ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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.