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Family Tetrigidae - Pygmy Grasshoppers

Tetrix subulata in CO - Tetrix subulata Tetrigidae, end of abdomen - Tetrix ornata - female Crested Pygmy Grasshopper ? - Nomotettix cristatus - female Pygmy Grasshopper - Paratettix mexicanus Tetrix subulata - female 3016873 Tetrigid Pygmy Grasshopper Short-horned Grasshopper - female
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids)
Suborder Caelifera (Grasshoppers)
Family Tetrigidae (Pygmy Grasshoppers)
Other Common Names
Grass Locusts, Pygmy Locusts, Grouse Locusts
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Tettigidae in older literature
Explanation of Names
Tetrigidae Serville 1838
see Tetrix
Numbers
~30 spp. in 6 genera in our area(1); worldwide, >1600 spp. in 226 genera, arranged into 8 subfamilies(2)
Size
6-16 mm
Identification
less than 20 mm, often smaller
pronotum is highly elongated, tapered, usually covers abdomen
tegmina (forewings) small, padlike, sometimes absent, may be exposed or covered by pronotum
front and middle tarsi with 2 segments, hind tarsi with 3 segments (formula 2-2-3)
hind tibiae expanded (for swimming!) in some species
a single species can have short-winged and long-winged forms, or lack wings altogether--these forms may appear quite different
auditory and stridulatory organs absent
Coloration and pattern, even within a single species, are variable. Often strongly sexually dimorphic, both in size (females usually larger) and in coloration. Some specimens appear green due to growth of algae.
see(3)(4)
Nymphs can be difficult to recognize from adults. Adults apparently have a dorsal subapical notch or tooth on the hind femora (Skejo et al., 2018).
Habitat
Usually near water, such as ponds and streams. Occasionally found in dry habitats, woodlands, old fields, sandy areas with lichen.
Food
Eat roots of plants or seedlings, mosses, fungi, algae, organic muck.
Life Cycle
Typically overwinter as adults and breed in late spring. Some species form breeding aggregations on the margin of ponds. One brood per year in north, two in southern areas. Adults may live two years or more. Reported to sometimes reproduce by parthenogenesis(4).
Semi-aquatic--eggs sometimes laid underwater. Some adults are reported to jump into water and swim away (underwater) as an escape mechanism.
See Also
Acrididae - Short-horned Grasshoppers
Print References
Skejo, J., Gupta, S. K., and Tumbrinck, J. 2018. Nymph inadvertently described as new species for a fourth time? On the identity of Euscelimena hardi (Tetrigidae: Scelimeninae) with general remarks on the identification of pygmy grasshopper nymphs. Zootaxa 4418(1): 93-97.
Internet References
(5)(6)