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Photo#1149507
grasshopper - Aulocara elliotti? - Aulocara elliotti

grasshopper - Aulocara elliotti? - Aulocara elliotti
Chico Basin Ranch (38.535284° -104.392606° E5205), El Paso County, Colorado, USA
July 21, 2015
White “X” dorsal pronotum; hind femur bars upper half of medial area (sympatric/similar Aulocara femora usually with indistinct bars), blue tibia; whitish stripe down length of tegmina; pronotum dorsal posterior margin rounded.

Sandsage Shrubland; moist depression in road that holds water after a rain. Thank you Bill Maynard for the in-hand photograph of this individual.

references:
Capinera, J.L. et al Field Guide to Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets

Richmond, D.B., D.C. Lightfoot, C.A. Sutherland D.J. Ferguson and L. Black. A manual of the grasshoppers of New Mexico (http://aces.nmsu.edu/academics/hoppers/index.html)

Schaefer, K. Grasshoppers of Texhoma-Goodwell, Texas County, Oklahoma, Order Orthoptera - Family Acrididae (photo comparison): http://www.opsu.edu/Academics/SciMathNurs/NaturalScience/PlantsInsectsOfGoodwell/grasshoppers/files/aulocara.html

Grasshoppers of Colorado - at USDA site
http://www.sidney.ars.usda.gov/grasshopper/extrnlpg/ghwywest/ghcofact.htm

Images of this individual: tag all
grasshopper - Aulocara elliotti? - Aulocara elliotti grasshopper - Aulocara elliotti? - Aulocara elliotti grasshopper - Aulocara elliotti? - Aulocara elliotti

Usually, females of closely related species
aren't very different in structure, but sometiems there are very useful differences. Sometimes the ovipositor valves have differences that are useful (particularly in difficult genera like Melanoplus, but usually they are well-documented in literature, and the differences are usually difficult to see in photos unless the photos are focused on those particular parts. So, usually it doesn't help to photograph this part of a female, but sometimes it makes all the difference.

As for tegmina length, it definitely varies. Also, the abdomen varies in length with the condition of the insect (especially in feamles), so one day the tegmina may be longer than the tip of the abdomen, and in the same insect a few days or weeks later they may be shorter. Femora tips are a bit better for referencing proportional tegmina lengths, because the legs don't change much (if at all) over time, but they are movable appendages so they are not perfect.

I have a hunch that A. ellioti and A. femoratum aren't actually particularly closely related, and that may be part of why there is an obvious difference in the female subgenital plate (???). I suspect that A. ellioti should be in Ageneotettix (allbeit with the wrong tibia color), and that A. femoratum is actually closer to Boopedon. Regardless, they are similar looking to one another.

yes - A. elliotti
They are so variable in coloring, that it can be a challenge to tell females of the two apart. There are two obvious easy clues (you have to catch them to look at the second). One is the white stripe on the folded tegmina doesn't widen noticeably at the back of the pronotum; it does on A. femoratum (of course that doesn't help when the stripe is missing). On females, on the under side, the rear of the subgenital plate is distinctly lobed in the middle on A. femoratum (Helfer reverses the perspective and calls it bisinuate), while there is just a little bit of a point or bump there on A. elliotti. Males are easier to ID. than females, they look quite different in the two species.

I think A. elliotti is the more common in most of Colorado, but in the southern Plains out from the mountains (and around Pueblo) the other is probably more common.

Moved from Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids.

 
tegmina and female subgenital plate
David, In Helfer (1987), tegminia reaches nearly or to tip of abdomen. Is there more variation in this character than the Helfer description? Re the subgenital plate, we might have a photographer the underside. Checking.

Sometimes I don't bother photographing abdomens of females I catch. Guess I need to change my strategy. Thanks for the details for separating these two species.

 
subgenital plate
we did a photograph

Moved for expert attention
Moved from ID Request.

re: whitish stripe down length of terminia
Is "terminia" a typo? I can't find a definition

Thanks.

 
typo yes
fat fingers

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