Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes


TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Species Brachystola magna - Plains Lubber Grasshopper

Plains Lubber Grasshopper, or multicolored grasshopper - Brachystola magna - male shrt wngd G-hoppers - Brachystola magna - male - female Plains Lubber - Brachystola magna - female Grasshopper Nymph - Brachystola magna Pink, Green, and Black Plains Lubber - Brachystola magna - female Brachystola magna  - Brachystola magna - female Brachystola magna   Lubber Grasshopper  - Brachystola magna - female
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 Romaleinae (Lubber Grasshoppers)
Genus Brachystola (Grassland Lubbers)
Species magna (Plains Lubber Grasshopper)
Other Common Names
Homesteader, Western Lubber Grasshopper
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Orig. Comb: Brachypeplus magnus Girard 1896
Explanation of Names
magna - The plains lubber grasshopper is one of the largest acridids in North America.
Numbers
1 sp. n. of Mex.
Size
Adult body length: 43-55 mm
Identification
Large, colorful grasshopper. Flightless.
On the central and southern Great Plains, individuals reach their largest size, and are more often (especially females) predominantly green. In the Southwest they tend to be smaller, more varied in coloration, but most often predominantly brown.
Range
Ranges widely on the western plains of the US and Mexico: AZ-TX-MN-MT / northern Mex. - Map - Wyo Ag Station, 1999
2012 Texas Outbreak: Edwards, Menard, McCulloch, Runnels, Schleicher and Tom Green counties (as of May 9)
Habitat
Mostly grasslands and scrublands
Usually found in weedy vegetation along roadways, vacant lots and field margins in areas with rocky or gravely soil (1)
Season
Early summer into fall (November), depending on latitude and timing of rainfall.
Food
The main food plants of this species are forbs (i.e., sunflowers, blanket flower, ragweed, cotton, lettuce, feverfew), although they will also consume live or dead insects. (1)
Diverse preferences, favoring many types of broad-leaved forbs. Especially fond of Sunflowers (Helianthus), Ragweeds (Ambrosia), and other broad-leaved Composites. Scavenges carrion and occasionally captures and eats other smaller animals.
It prefers to feed on coarse forbs and dead insects. It is never abundant enough (in Wyo) to cause damage to crops or rangeland and its consumption of weedy plants may be considered beneficial. - Univ. Wyoming
Life Cycle
Reported by some to have a two-year life cycle, with eggs requiring two overwintering periods before hatching. Probably really only one year required, at least in southern half of range, though eggs may be capable of surviving several or many years before hatching (a survival adaptation in dry unpredictable climates).
Remarks
Pest Status: Usually not considered to be a serious pest of grasslands; medically harmless. (1)
Often appears locally in huge numbers for a season or two in areas where few were seen for many years, only to "disappear" again the following year.
Considered an occasional pest of cotton, this grasshopper increased to damaging numbers in 1954, 1959, 1977, and 1979, during a period of 30 years (1951-1980) in Texas. - Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station, 1999
Important in the history of genetics, this species has large chromosomes, easily observed in the early days of cell biology.
Internet References
Lubber Grasshopper - Drees, B.M. and John Jackman, 1999 - TAMU (1)
Plains Lubber Grasshopper - Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station, 1999
Orthoptera of the Northern Great Plains - Gerald M. Fauske, 2007 - NDSU
Works Cited
1.A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects
Bastiaan M. Drees, John A. Jackman. 1998. Gulf Publishing.