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Photo#127065
Dead Grasshopper - Pardalophora phoenicoptera - male

Dead Grasshopper - Pardalophora phoenicoptera - Male
Ozark Mountains, Searcy County, Arkansas, USA
July 4, 2007
I'm finding several dead grasshoppers ... like half a dozen yesterday. Most all are clinging to the upper section of a plant or stem. There's no obvious signs of a fungus. I'm just wondering if there's some parasite, fungus or whatever that is known to cause this.

Moved

Pardalophora phoenicoptera - not Schistocerca
Hi, This resembles Schistocerca americana somewhat in coloration and size, but is not that species. It is a the Band-wing Grasshopper Pardalophora phoenicoptera. I'll bet it had orange wings.

Schistocerca americana.
Yes, it is a fungal parasite. The fungus can spread rapidly through a population.

 
Thanks, Eric
After reading your answer, I did some Googling. If anyone is interested, here is a page with more information and photos. The grasshopper discussed is different (Dissosteira carolina) and maybe the fungus (Entomophaga grylli) is too, but the description (clinging to stalks, heads turning chalky white, etc.) sounds the same as what we've been finding. I'll have to check some of the more recent cadavers more closely and see if I can find more evidence of the fungus.

I wasn't sure if I was actually finding more of these dead grasshoppers or if it just seemed as if I was because I'm paying a lot more attention to insects these days. However, this summer is much wetter than normal here in the Ozarks. We've been burning up the pixels photographing all sorts of brightly colored (and deadly) mushrooms that normally are not here in mid-summer. I reckon the warm, moist conditions that are producing all the mushrooms are beneficial to other fungi as well -- but not beneficial to grasshoppers.

Thanks again,
Marvin

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