Two-Striped Grasshopper (Melanoplus bivittatus)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Two-Striped Grasshopper.
Updated: 8/25/2017; 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 crow, two yellow stripes run the length of the body from the eyes, flaring out at the thorax, continuing on the edges of the wings and tapering back in toward 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 progress through multiple instars.
This species of grasshopper thrives on weeds at the border 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 though 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 move. Look for this species at roadsides, the edges of farm fields, in prairies, and meadows.