Other Common Names
Speckled or Specklewinged Grasshopper
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Arphia conspersa Scudder, 1875. Type locality: Dallas, Dallas County Texas
Arphia frigida Scudder, 1875. Type locality: Yukon River, Alaska
Arphia arcta Scudder, 1876. Type locality: Denver, Colorado
Arphia teporata Scudder, 1876. Type locality: southern Colorado
Arphia infernalis Saussure, 1884. Type locality: Fort McKinley, Wyoming
Arphia acta Caudell, 1903. This name was never published. Perhaps derived from a mispelling of A. acta
Arphia canora Rehn, 1904. Type locality: Salt Lake City, Utah
Arphia aberrans Bruner, 1905. Type locality: Huachuca Mountains, Arizona
Arphia pallidipennis Bruner, 1905. Type locality: Eslava, Mexico, Mexico
?Arphia townsendi Bruner, 1905. Type locality: Colonia Garcia, Chihuahua, Mexico (based on a specimen with a large head)
?Arphia secreta Otte, 1984. Type locatlity: Cuatro Cienegas, Coahuila, Mexico (based on a specimen with a faint wing band)
male 20-25 mm, female 24-37 mm
Distinguished from other Arphia species found in same region by overwintering as nymphs; small size (size is variable, but smaller than most other species found with it). Coloring varied, but usually shades of gray or brown, often speckled dark, with underside pale and yellowish. Head with junction of fastigium with frontal costa of face rather wide, not strongly constricted. Thorax with median ridge low and fairly even, not arched noticeably upward. Tegmina often (not always) with hind margin pale, forming a pale stripe down back of insect when folded (especially in males). Hind wings highly varied in color (disk yellow to red or pink), but always pale and translucent; with a large area of apex located beyond dark cross band (variable, but approximately 1/3 length of wing - usually much less in other species); with wing band narrow, often interrupted near base of spur, and with long and wide spur usually reaching most of the way to base of wing and usually filling most or at least more than half of space between the first anal vein and the front margin of the wing (usually less than half as wide in other species, and sometimes very short); hind tibia usually light in color (varying from brownish or yellowish to blue), base usually pale, and most often there is no dark sub-basal ring.
Most similar is A. ramona from southern California, (which may intergrade with A. conspersa). It differs in the somewhat narrower junction of the fastigium with the frontal costa of the face, and in the narrower dark spur of the cross band on the hind wing. The wings are nearly always orange (yellow is rare). Specimens from western desert mountains (not far to the east) seem intermediate in character.
Also very similar are A. behrensi found west of the deserts in California and perhaps into southern Oregon, and A. sulphurea found further east. These may overlap area with A. conspersa (and perhaps intergrade with it ?), but both have a decidedly narrowed junction of fastigium with frontal costa, and hind wings with usually smaller apical area, wider dark cross band and nearly always yellow disk of deeper color saturation.
A. pseudonietana (widespread), A. saussureana (northern California and Oregon), and A. xanthoptera (east) all mature in late spring or summer from spring-hatched eggs, are larger in size, have much wider dark cross band on hind wings with more saturated disk color, and all average darker in coloration with the pale tegminal stripe rarely occuring. A. pseudonietana is usually very dark in color, nearly black below, with dark hind tibiae, and almost always has rich red wings with a very wide marginal dark cross band with the spur often long but most often narrow. A. saussureana is perhaps only a variant of A. pseudonietana, but is lighter in color with the body pale below, so is easier to confuse with A. conspersa; however, adult season is late, size is rather large, and the wings are usually a saturated orange to red with a very wide marginal dark band. A. xanthoptera is found in the easternmost area where A. conspsersa is found; it has a fairly high arched pronotal crest, usually dark hind tibiae, and usually rich yellow wings that have a wide dark marginal band and a short spur.
A. simplex is a somewhat similar spring species, but much larger in size, with the face usually somewhat squared in profile at the "forehead" (rounded in A. conspersa), with the junction of the fastigium and frontal costa very narrow. Tegmina often with a pale streak down side (as seen when folded, and usually lacking on other species). Hind wings are pale translucent yellow to orange, but with the dark band more marginal and even in, with a relatively small clear apical area, often with the very tip dark (usually not in A. conspersa), and with the spur long but very narrow. Hind tibiae usually bluish (sometimes greenish or tan) with the base pale, and the tip and a subapical ring blackish). Most Arphia species produce a rather loud harsh buzzing sound in flight that varies some in pitch (somewhat higher and not quite so loud in smaller species), and might be described as crackling by some. A. simplex has the individual notes further apart, and the sound tends more to something that could be described as snapping, popping, or loud ticking. When found together, A. conspersa and A. simplex sound quite different.
A huge area from westernmost Ontario and Wisconsin south to east central Texas and on to the trans-volcanic belt of Mexico; westward to Pacific Coast north almost to the Arctic of Canada and Alaska. Not in Baja California and much of California where replaced by A. ramona & behrensi.
Overwinters as nearly mature nymph. Adults first appear in late winter or early spring, and most abundant in spring, some occasionally surviving into summer and autumn, especially in cool summer climates. Eggs, laid in ground, apparently hatch in summer.