Explanation of Names
Relationships of the various subspecies, and closely related "species" need further study. In past certain types have been variously treated as if distinct species, or simply as subspecies, but rarely has there been full agreement on which are distinct and which are not. The treatment used here on BugGuide is not the final word, but is based on what seems to currently be most prevalent in literature.
Based on habits and color pattern:
Subspecies nevadensis and viridis are very closely related and they definitely intergrade with one-another (even subspecies status seems debatable), and there is little doubt that they represent variation within one species.
Subspecies pratensis often occurs alongside of ssp. viridis where the two tend to favor different host plants, and appear to behave as if perhaps different species. More studiy is definitely needed.
Subspecies pratensis and brevipennis are very similar, and are likely closely related to one-another even if not the same thing, yet both seem rather distant from ssp. nevadensis & viridis.
Hesperotettix curtipennis shows noticeable affinities to H. viridis ssp. pratensis, differing primarily in having short roundish wings. The two types might be regional variants of one species, yet different from H. viridis. They need further study where they meet along the east base of the Rockies.
Hesperotettix osceola is very similar to H. viridis spp. brevipennis & pratensis, differing in having very short wings. It is also quite similar to H. curtipennis & pacificus, though isolated by great distance from either one.
Hesperotettix pacificus seems rather similar to both H. curtipennis and H. viridis pratensis, but it seems rather more distinctive than most of the others mentioned here, and species status may be biologically correct (or not?).
So, it seems likely that with further study, there may yet be some future reshuffling of names.
Much of North America from southernmost Canada to Mexico and northern Florida. Absent in Northeast (north and east from about Illinois), and as here defined, it is also absent from the immediate Pacific coastal area, and from southern Florida. It is also often absent or rare in most high elevation and forested areas.
Sunny, usually open areas were Asteraceae host plants occur. Often abundant in somewhat disturbed and in semi-arid environments, and most often found in grassland and scrub areas. East from approximately the Mississippi it's occurence is highly localized, and it is mostly found in open sandy areas.
Almost exclusively plants of the family Asteraceae, though they occasionally supplement with or sample other plants as well.
In most regions overwintering as eggs, hatching in spring or summer, and maturing in late spring or summer, with adults often living until freezing weather. In southern non-freezing areas the seasonality of their occurance is often somewhat less well-defined, and adults may occur at any season (though still most often encountered in summer).
In many regions, these are among the most colorful insects to be encountered, with their almost gem-like greens (or browns) marked with white, black and red.