Other Common Names
Stridulating Slantfaced Grasshoppers
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Below is a partial listing, primarily of names that have been used for, or that relate to North American genera.
Gomphoceri Fieber, 1853 [as tribe]. Type genus: Gomphocerus Thunberg 1815
Gomphocerinae (Fieber) Uvarov, 1966 [as subfamily]
Gomphoceridae (Fieber) X.-C. Yin, 2003 [as family]
Arcypterinae (Shumakov) X.-C. Yin, 1984 [as subfamily]. Based on tribe Arcypterini Shumakov, 1963. Type genus: Arcyptera Serville, 1838
Arcypteridae (Shumakov) Liu, Jupeng, 1990 [as family]
Chrysochroantinae (Brunner von Wattenwyl) Jacobson, 1905. Based on group Chrysochroantes Brunner von Wattenwyl, 1893. Type genus: Chysochroan Fischer, 1853
Scyllinae Brunner von Wattenwyl, 1893 [as subfamily]. Type genus Scyllina Stål, 1873 (now included within Rhammatocerus Saussure) 1861)
Explanation of Names
Some authors lump the Gomphocerinae (often along with the Oedipodinae) into an expanded subfamily Acridinae, but this is not general practice, and creates a rather cumbersome, unnatural grouping. Some use the name Truxalinae (an older name) because the genus Truxalis has a similar stridulatory mechanism; however, Truxalis is closely related to the genus Acrida and it's kin, and not to any Gomphocerinae, so the name Truxalinae is now restricted to include only a few Old World genera; or, it is simply placed as a synonym of a similarly restricted Old World subfamily Acridinae. Total world-wide agreement still has not been reached though, and there are differences as to what is a family, subfamily, and which should be grouped together with what.
The subfamily is divided into groupings of similar genera here for convenience. These are roughly equivalent to tribes, but are not treated as such because they do not match up with those listed on Orthoptera Species Files, and the nomenclature is in a state of flux now. There is a great deal of new information accumulating from molecular studies that challenges many traditional groupings, and also there are few authors who divide the subfamily in the same ways. The groups used here put similar looking species together, and are probably mostly (but not entirely) fairly natural groupings of related genera. (see further comments under the individual groups)
In North America, this is the only group of Grasshoppers in which males (and often females) have a stridulatory file on the inner side of the hind femur, consisting of a row of raised pegs along a raised ridge. This is rubbed up and down against raised veins of the tegmina (front wings) to produce sound. In a few genera the stridulatory file is missing, but these otherwise appear like Gomphocerines.
There is no strongly developed tubercle or "spur" between the front legs on the prosternum, but in some genera there is a roughly conical or pyramidal but rather low projection in the same place.
There are a few species of Oedipodinae with clear or nearly clear wings that could be confused with some Gomphocerinae, but they will have (at least on the males) a stridulatory file on a raised "intercallary" vein on the tegmina instead of the hind femur. In the Oedipodinae, sound is also made by rubbing legs against tegmina, but the placement of the "parts" is opposite.
In many, but not all genera of Gomphocerinae, the head appears rather pointed and has the face slanting backward from the top down; in some strongly so. Also, mostly, the Oedipodinae have more roughened body surfaces above and/or have a prominent raised ridge on the middle of the pronotum (present but only a low, often faint raised line on most Gomphocerinae.
The Gomphocerine hind wings are usually clear, sometimes lightly tinted with color (if so, usually bluish or yellowish in ours), with at most some cloudy darkening toward the outer edge. There are few species that are exceptions, with black wings or yellow wings with a black crossband, but these have the heads almost pointed and the face strongly sloping back (unlike any Band-wing Grasshopper species).
World-wide except the Australian region and Antarctica.
Highly varied and occuring in most any environment with green food. However, a majority of species favor sunny meadowy or marshy environments. A smaller but still large group of species (many of those with more rounded vertically oriented heads) tend to favor semi-arid steppes, where they may even prefer to rest on bare ground in favor of vegetation.
Most species utilize Grasses (Poaceae) or related plants as food, but this is a large subfamily with many species, and food preferences cover a wide range of plant groups.
The subfamily is broken into "groups" here that roughly correspond to the "tribes" of some authors, but these groups are intended mostly to place similar looking species together, and may not represent true relationships. Most genera within a group are likely closely related, but just as likely there will be some that will be shown to be unrelated as more is learned about them. A few genera are somewhat uncomforatable among the Gomphocerinae, and may not belong at all. Among them are Acrolophitus, Bootettix, and Ligurotettix. All worthy of note, because they do not "look" like Gomphocerines, yet this is where they are currently placed and where they will be found here in BugGuide.
- Silent Slantfaced Grasshoppers