Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Locusta (Tragocephala) Harris, 1841. [non Tragocephala Dejean, 1835 (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae: Lamiinae)]. Type species not listed, but included species (L. infuscata, L. viridi-fasciata, & L. radiata) all = C. viridifasciata.
Chortophaga Saussure, 1884. [replacement name for Tragocephala Harris]. Type species: Acrydium viridifasciatum DeGeer (by subsequent designation of Kirby, 1910)
3 species: cubensis, mendocino and viridifasciata.
2 in the area covered by BugGuide.
Green to brown or tan, sometimes mostly purplish, or combinations of these colors, sometimes even in pattern, but often with two or three large dark bars on tegmina, often with longitudinal streaks on the tegmina, and often with dark bars on top of the hind femur. Hind tibia varied in color, but usually brown to green or blue (sometimes purplish).
Mostly sunny grassy areas, which may be meadows, road sides, ditch or stream banks, mountainsides, infrequently mowed lawns, hay fields or pastures, or any number of other similar areas. Usually there are some bare patches of soil and the grass is of fine or soft texture and relatively short (under a foot or so). In the west they tend to be limited to non- (or at most slightly) saline low-lying moist areas.
Usually verwinter as nymphs, sometimes adults in the South. Adults in one spring brood in the north and west of the Great Plains, but C. viridifasciata often produces two or more broods southward from roughly Nebraska, the Ohio Valley, and Virginia.
Chortophaga is extremely closely related to Chimarocephala, and it seems probable that the two may be combined again one day. If this should happen, the species of Chortophaga would become members of Chimarocephala, the older name.
The distinction of the two is based primarily on geography, with Chimarocephala replacing Chortophaga in much of California; however, near the coast in the Bay area, a species of each "genus" occurs, and these are very similar in appearance. Generally Chortophaga average a bit larger, have smoother bodies (notably the head and pronotum), with the fastigium of the head wider and flatter (less deeply impressed). The hind leg of Chimarocephala has the top flange a bit wider and more prominent in the mid section. Coloration is the same in both genera, but the males of Chimarocephala are proportionately smaller as compared to the females and tend to be much more active and strong fliers (actually somewhat resembling Tiger Beetles until observed up close).
The species of Chortophaga
are not delimited in the same way by all authors, and it is likely that all belong to one biological species. Not in keeping with the treatment on Orthoptera Species File
(which is the classification usually followed on BugGuide), the "species" viridifasciata
are considered as subspecies here on BugGuide. These two intergrade over a huge area from the southern coastal states north to the Ohio River Valley and Nebraska, and no meaningful line can be drawn between them. It is very difficult to identify many individuals as one or the other. Also, first generation individuals in a given area are likely to be most like "viridifasciata
", while later generations in the same population will often look more like "australior
"American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico" (1)
, pp. 171-172.
"Grasshoppers of Florida" (2)
, p. 64-65
Try the "Grasshoppers of Florida" key/pdf file (3)
for identification of southern species.