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Species Trimerotropis fontana - Fontana Grasshopper

Fontana Grasshopper - Trimerotropis fontana - female Fontana Grasshopper - Trimerotropis fontana - male Fontana Grasshopper - Trimerotropis fontana - female Fontana Grasshopper - Trimerotropis fontana - female Grashopper 4 - Trimerotropis fontana - female Dry mountain hopper 3 - Trimerotropis fontana - male grasshopper - Trimerotropis fontana - male Fontana Grasshopper - Trimerotropis fontana
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids)
Suborder Caelifera (Grasshoppers)
Family Acrididae (Short-horned Grasshoppers)
Subfamily Oedipodinae (Band-winged Grasshoppers)
Tribe Trimerotropini
Genus Trimerotropis
Species fontana (Fontana Grasshopper)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Trimerotropis fontana Thomas, 1876, from San Bernardino Mts, California
Trimerotropis juliana Sudder, 1876, from Julian, San Diego County, California
Trimerotropis caerulipes Scudder 1881, from Portland, Oregon
Trimerotropis fallax Saussure 1884, from California
Trimerotropis calignosa McNeill 1901, from Los Angeles County, California
Trimerotropis ferruginea McNeill 1901, from various points in Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah.
Trimerotropis tessellata McNeill 1901, from Turkey Tanks, Arizona
Trimerotropis caerulipes var. tessellata (McNeill) Caudell 1908
Pseudotrimerotropis fallax (Saussure) Kirby, 1910
Pseudotrimerotropis ferruginea (McNeill) Kirby, 1910
Pseudotrimerotropis juliana (Scudder) Kirby, 1910
?Trimerotropis santabarbara Rentz and Weissman 1981, Graveyard Cyn., Santa Barbara Island, California. The only distinction seems to be a very weak dark cross band on the hind wings.
Explanation of Names
The large number of synonyms is a testament to how varied the coloration of this species can be.
Identification
Most easily confused with T. thalassica, and T. occidentalis. T. fontana has fairly rich yellow hind wings (often slightly greenish) with a dark curving band and dark clouding (often entirely black) beyond the dark band. The hind femur is usually dark inside with two pale bands across it. The hind tibia is usually blue with a black base (the bent "knob" at the top), a pale ring next to the base, and typically a darker zone again just past the pale ring. The medain ridge on the prozona (front part of the pronotum) is usually raised little higher than on the metazona (rear part of pronotum). T. fontana tends to be a woodland species. In most populations of T. fontana, the dark bands on the tegmina (front wings) are wide dark and sharp-edged, with clear pale spaces between, and they fade out toward the top (rear) margin.

T. thalassica usually has greenish to bluish hind wings with a narrow band and clear tip, as well as narrower dark bands on the tegmina. The hind femur usually only has one pale band across the inside.

T. occidentalis usually has greenish wings with a narrow band and clear tip. Narrower somewhat irregular or broken dark bands cross the top of the tegmina, and the spaces between are commonly at least somewhat speckled.

Neither has a dark zone on the hind tibia. The wings of both are often almost clear.

T. fontana is also rather like Conozoa, but has no projection or tooth at the lower rear angles of the pronotum, and it has a lower ridge line on the top of the pronotum. Conozoa often have red, orange, or yellow hind tibiae (greenish or bluish in some areas in some species though).

In some regions (along the west side of California, north into western British Columbia), populations refered to T. fontana have the pattern more broken with some speckling, and the bands on the tegmina may cross the top, but other characters are the same. These do not look much like "typical" T. fontana, and conceivably might even represent a distinct species (for which the name would be T. caerulipes). These resemble T. pallidipennis, but run smaller in size, tend to run more to a pattern of grays and blacks, and have the blue hind tibiae of T. fontana (yellow in T. pallidipennis).

Trimerotropis occidentaloides occurs in the Santa Monica Mountains, Los Angeles County, California. Has narrower sometimes more weakly indicated tegminal bands, often represented as spots or speckles; and, the median ridge of the "prozona" (front portion of the pronotum) seems to most often be higher as viewed in profile than would be average for T. fontana.

The distinction of Trimerotropis fontana from T. cincta seems artificial. The only relatively constant difference is the black "mask" through the eyes of T. cincta and distribution, yet even the mask is often present (especially in males) in T. fontana and sometimes missing (especially in females) in T. cincta. T. cincta occurs mostly east of T. fontana from British Columbia to Arizona, New Mexico and Nebraska.

Trimerotropis koebelei is also basically the same and distinguished apparently only by coloration, with intermediate conditions occuring. It is like T. cincta, but averages lighter and more contrasting than both T. fontana and T. cincta, and occurs in the Sierras and Coast Ranges in California and Oregon.
Range
Southern British Columbia to northern Arizona, west to the Pacific. The eastern limits in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah are ill-defined due to intergradatio with Trimerotropis cincta.
Habitat
Varied, but typically on sloping ground in open spots in open forest or woodland. Typically found in mountainous regions.
Season
Summer to frost
Life Cycle
Overwinters as eggs.
Remarks
Makes an interrupted buzzing ("pulse-buzz") sound when flying; not particularly loud or harsh. Will often fly through branches of trees and shrubs to escape.

The distinction of this "species" from "Trimerotropis cincta" seems artificial. The only relatively constant difference is the black "mask" through the eyes of T. cincta and distribution, yet even the mask is sometimes present (especially in males) in T. fontana and sometimes missing (especially in females) in T. cincta. T. cincta occurs mostly east of T. fontana from British Columbia to Arizona, New Mexico and Nebraska.

Trimerotropis koebelei is also basically the same and distinguished apparently only by coloration, with intermediate conditions occuring. It is like T. cincta, but averages lighter and more contrasting than both T. fontana and T. cincta, and occurs in the Sierras and Coast Ranges in California and Oregon.
Internet References
Diagnostic drawing and distribution map at Orthoptera Species File.