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Plains Lubber Grasshopper (Bracystola magna)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Plains Lubber Grasshopper

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The sizable Plains Lubber Grasshopper makes a big impression thanks to its heft and tiny, pink wings.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Though it can leap like a champion, the native Plains Lubber Grasshopper does not fly. There are a handful of color variations: some are either dark or light brown while others are green. All have small, speckled wings near the middle of the body that range from blush to bright pink. An ivory line stretches down both sides of the head and thorax. The long, rear legs have a black 'knee' joint. Two thin ivory stripes run down the center of the back, with small ivory dots on either side of it. The dark head may be gray, blue-gray, or dark green.

This species is common in the Western states and provinces. They are omnivores that eat both plant matter and insects. Look for them in prairies with low-growing grasses and among plants where they can both blend in and feed. They can also be seen in areas gravelly areas where pavement and landscape meet.

Historically, Plains Lubber Grasshoppers had been once been an agricultural pest to crops like cotton. Now they are not found in sufficient numbers to be a significant threat to any crop. They sometimes have population booms for a few years, but are then scarcely sighted in years after. It is possible that eggs delay hatching for a year or two until better conditions occur. Hatching occurs in the spring, and after a series of molting, adults are mature by late summer. Thanks to the visibly large size of this species' cells and DNA, the Plains Lubber Grasshopper helped scientists understand chromosomes in the early years of genetic research.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Jumping insect icon
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Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Orthoptera
        Family: Romalidae
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          Genus: Bracystola
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            Species: magna

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Bracystola magna
Category: Grasshopper or Cricket
Size (Adult; Length): 45mm to 55mm (1.77" to 2.16")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; pink; black; gray; green
Descriptors: multicolored; large; pink wing; dots; jumping; song; chirp

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 45mm (1.8in) and 55mm (2.2in)
Lo: 45mm
Md: 50mm
Hi: 55mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Plains Lubber Grasshopper may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Plains Lubber Grasshopper. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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