Other Common Names
In much of it's range "Pink-winged Grasshopper" would be most apt, but has apparently never been used.
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Acridium tuberculatum Palisot de Beauvois, 1805 [was not technically a new name but rather a misapplication, as de Beauvois mistook the American insect as being the same as Gryllus tuberculatum Fabricius, 1775 (= Bryodema tuberculata); a European species]
Harris ex Hitchcock, 1835. [validity of original publication might be questionable, as the entire entry was in a list of species and appeared as "Locusta L. apiculata. tuberculata P. de Beauv. F?"
, with no diagnosis; as an apparent preplacement name]. Type locality: not given, but presumably Massachusetts, based on the title of the original publication of the name by Harris: 'A Catalogue of the Animals and Plants in Massachusetts
Locusta corallina Harris, 1835 [Listed as a synonym in 'Orthoptera Species File Online', but never actually published; probably a data entry mistake taken from "Locusta carolina" which follows the name L. apiculata in the 1935 Hitchcock catalog.]
Oedipoda obliterata Burmeister, 1838. Type locality: USA
Hippiscus apiculata (Harris) J.A.G. Rehn 1910
Pardalophora apiculata (Harris) J.A.G. Rehn 1916
Usually light gray to gray-brown, sometimes olive with darker markings; sometimes with lighter areas and lower side yellowish (particularly males from Great Plains). Dark spots on tegmina tend to be large and few in number. Top of folded tegmina and pronotum usually paler toward margin, but on the tegmina usually not in the form of well defined narrow pale marginal stripes (rather darkening gradually toward center). Hind wing pinkish orange to pinkish red (yellow reported, but if it occurs is very rare). Posterior angle of pronotum acutely pointed. Inner hind femur yellow to orange with dark (usually black) markings. Hind tibia yellow to orange. Adults early in season, mostly early spring.
P. phoenicoptera, has the hind pronotal angle obtuse or a right angled. Hindwings usually orange-red to red. Inner hind femur largely blue (with a subapical yellow to orange cross-band). Coloring and pattern are variable, but sometimes "leopard-spotted" and sometimes bright green.
Less likely to be confused are P. haldemanii, P. saussurei, & Xanthippus corallipes with a distinct pattern of "leopard-spots" on the tegmina, and usually with more sharply defined narrow pale marginal stripes along the top of the pronotum and folded tegmina. P. saussurei & P. haldemanii often have the top of the pronotum more "rugose"; typically with raised ridges that run parallel to the hind margin. X. corallipes & P. haldemanii usually have the inner hind femur of a solid color ranging from yellow to red (sometimes mostly blue-black in southern X. corallipes). P. saussurei usually has the inner hind femur mostly bluish in color.
Xanthippus montanus often occurs with P. apiculata on the Great Plains, but probably won't be confused with it. It has a more strongly sculptured head and thorax, the pattern is less "even" and usually made up of smaller spots, with narrow well-defined margins on top. The inner femora and hind tibiae are red, and hind wings are yellow.
Hippiscus ocelote is stocker with a broader, smoother, rounder head and with the pronotum divided at the middle on top (behind the middle in all the above species). It is rarely found as an adult before late June, and is most commonly seen as adults from July to frost. The pattern is of the "leopard-spot" sort, and the hind wings vary in color.
across southern Canada and south to New Mexico, Oklahoma, Missouri, North Carolina
Forest clearings with grasses and sand prairies. Nearly always found where the soil is very sandy.
Overwinters as nymphs that hatched the previous summer/autumn. Adults mature in early spring, with the actual date depending on elevation and/or latitude (mostly April or May, sometimes March; some places as late as June). Adults in most regions are gone before July, but in north and in mountains may survive into July. Rarely seen after June or July.
In high elevation and northern regions, wings are shorter (notably on females) and females may be reluctant or even unable to fly. In most regions both genders are powerful fliers and hard to catch. Size is largest on the sandhills of the southern Great Plains.