Family Tetrigidae - Pygmy Grasshoppers
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids)
Suborder Caelifera (Grasshoppers)
Family Tetrigidae (Pygmy Grasshoppers)
Other Common Names
Grass Locusts, Pygmy Locusts, Grouse Locusts
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
, 1838 (OSF
). Taxonomic notes:
called Tettigidae in some older literature
Explanation of Names
Family name is from genus Tetrix
(Latreille, 1802). A related zoological name is that of the bird Tetrao tetrix
(Linneaus, 1758), the Black Grouse. Tetrao
, grouse, is from a Greek word, τεραων, meaning pheasant or grouse (1)
. This relationship is seen in the common name grouse locusts
for the Tetrigidae, but the exact connection between the locust and the grouse is not clear.
It seems likely that tetrix
, in the case of both the grouse and the orthopteran, is from Latin tetricus, taetricus
, meaning harsh, sour, severe (1)
, (Latin dictionary). The extended meaning of the English word derived from it, tetric
, is rugged
, which would certainly apply to the rugged sculpturing of many species in the Tetrigidae. Perhaps this is the meaning of the species name for the Black Grouse, Tetrao tetrix
, and it was picked to accompany the (unrelated?) genus name for alliterative reasons. (The male Black Grouse is certainly bold, and perhaps rugged.) Then, perhaps (!
(orthopteran) was derived from the name of that particular grouse. Certainly the common name grouse locusts
is a reference to Tetrao tetrix
has this to say about the history and origin of the names for this family:
The genus Tettix
was first known by the appellation Tetrix
, which was given by Latreille
(1804) to a well defined group of Acridians, which in succeeding? years became known under various names, but we recognize these insects from the time of Linnaeus (1764), whose figures are unmistakable. ... Although Latreille first applied the term Tetrix
, as we understand the name to-day, it is essentially the same genus as that defined by Charpentier as Tettix
, and later used by Fisher , and so on down to the present time. The word Tetrix
is of Greek origin, meaning grasshopper. Harris
(1841) supposed that Latreille applied the term to the Tettigida from some fanciful resemblance to the heath-cock of Europe. In North America the name grouse-locusts has to some extent been applied to Tettigids in consequence of this supposed similarity.
Arnett lists six genera, 29 North American species (3)
. Worldwide, about 27 genera and 1400 species (Wikipedia
Two subfamilies, Tetriginae and Batrachideinae (3)
, the latter sometimes listed as a separate family (Wikipedia
6-16 mm (body length)
Tiny orthoptera, similar in form to Acrididae, usually associated with wet areas. Characteristics:
less than 20 mm length, often smaller
pronotum is highly elongated, tapered, usually covers abdomen
tegmina (forewings) small, padlike, sometimes absent, may be exposed or covered by pronotum
front and middle tarsi with 2 segments, hind tarsi with 3 segments (formula 2-2-3)
hind tibiae expanded (for swimming!) in some species
a single species can have short-winged and long-winged forms, or lack wings altogether--these forms may appear quite different
auditory and stridulatory organs absent
Coloration and pattern, even within a single species, are variable. Often strongly sexually dimorphic, both in size (females usually larger) and in coloration. Some specimens appear green due to growth of algae. Helfer (5)
is the only reference in popular literature (though out-of-print) that has keys to this family.
Usually near water, such as ponds and streams. Occasionally found in dry habitats, woodlands, old fields, sandy areas with lichen.
Spring, fall. May-June, September (Minnesota). Much of year in southern United States, apparently.
Eat roots of plants or seedlings, mosses, fungi, algae, organic muck.
Typically overwinter as adults and breed in late spring. Some species form breeding aggregations on the margin of ponds. One brood per year in north, two in southern areas. Adults may live two years or more. Reported to sometimes reproduce by parthenogenesis (5)
Semi-aquatic--eggs sometimes laid underwater. Some adults are reported to jump into water and swim away (underwater) as an escape mechanism.
- Short-horned Grasshoppers
Bland, p. 125--family description, illustrates 8 species (4)
Capinera, pp. 150-151, plate 33, describes and illustrates two species (7)
Castner, p. 64, gives family characteristics (8)
The Century Dictionary
--entries for tetric
--there are no entries for Tetrix
, unfortunately (1)
Hancock, 1902. The Tettigidae of North America (2)
Helfer, pp. 82-94, has keys, illustrations, for 16 or more species (5)
Orthoptera of the Northern Great Plains: list
, gives common names. Key
--gives a key to some genera and species of Tetrigidae, and other members of the suborder Caelifera.
Orthoptera of Great Smoky Mountains
lists--subfamily Tetriginae: Nomotettix cristatus; Tetrix ornata, T. arenosa angusta; Neotettix femoratus, N. proavus; Paratettix cucullatus; Subfamily Batrachideinae: Tettigidea lateralis lateralis, T. armata.
Orthoptera of Alabama
|2.||The Tettigidae of North America|
Hancock, Joseph Lane, 1864-1922. 1902. Chicago, Pub. by special grant of Mrs. Frank G. Logan.
|4.||Orthoptera of Michigan|
Roger Bland. 2003. Michigan State University Exttension.
|6.||How to Know the Insects|
Roger G. Bland, H.E. Jaques. 1978. WCB/McGraw-Hill.
|7.||Field Guide To Grasshoppers, Katydids, And Crickets Of The United States|
John L. Capinera, Ralph D. Scott, Thomas J. Walker. 2004. Cornell University Press.