Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge, Fulton County, Illinois, USA August 19, 2008 Size: 1 1/2 inch
This is an unusual request. I normally agree with the Bugguide policy of not posting dead insects. However, this is not an ID request but a behavior request. In a grassy area near a marsh, I found thousands of grasshoppers of at least 5 species, a mass takeover of the habitat. Every step sent scores leaping from my path. But then I noticed that there were hundreds of dead grasshoppers on the grass stems of various ages, some freshly dead, others old and rotting. They all held the grass stems with tight "death grips" that usually enclosed several stems. All died in an upright position. Can anyone explain this mass die off? The third picture has what looks like some kind of fungus growing on the feet of the corpse. I don't know if that is what killed it or if it came later. Is this due to overpopulation or some sort of contamination? Any information would be helpful.
Contributed by Matthew Priebe on 28 December, 2008 - 11:37am Last updated 25 October, 2009 - 6:49pm
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