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Two-striped Grasshopper (Melanoplus bivittatus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Two-striped Grasshopper.

 Updated: 3/20/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




At every life stage, the Two-striped Grasshopper is a bonafide pest to important agricultural crops thanks to its voracious appetite.



Two-striped Grasshoppers are a light brown color with shades of green on the head. The top of the head is dark brown. On the sides of the crown, two yellow stripes run the length of the body from the eyes to the edges of the wings and the tip of the abdomen. The long back legs are tan with an inlay of chevrons on the sides and alternating patches of black and tan along the inner edges. Nymphs (juveniles) change color and pattern as they molt through multiple instars.

This species of grasshopper thrives on weeds at the border of and within fields of crops. They eat all parts of plants like alfalfa, corn, lentil, barley, wheat, and other small grains crops at every life stage. This results in a non-stop barrage of feeding by the insects and results in complete decimation of a field. Because stalk, flower, and seed are all consumed, plants are unlikely to reproduce on their own in the same area the next year and require reseeding.

Mating can last up to half a day as both food and sperm are transferred to females in the process. Eggs are laid in the soil before winter, and nymphs hatch in the spring when temperatures begin to rise. One generation is produced each year, but in higher elevations, it may take two years.

Two-striped Grasshoppers are active in the daytime and perch at the top of crops and vegetation at night to rest. Once the warm sunshine raises their body temperatures, they descend and either continue feeding or move on to new plants. Nymphs and adults can move in large migratory groups to new patches of vegetation. These swarms can been seen flying high above the field. Look for this species at roadsides, the edges of farm fields, in prairies, and meadows.
Jumping insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Orthoptera
        Family: Acrididae
          Genus: Melanoplus
            Species: bivittatus
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Melanoplus bivittatus
Category: Grasshopper or Cricket
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 55mm (1.17in to 2.15in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, black, yellow, green, tan
Descriptors: jumping, hopping, legs, long, lines, stripes, chevron, wings
Territorial Map
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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
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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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.