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Species Conozoa texana - Cristate Grasshopper

Conozoa texana - female Conozoa texana - male Cristate Grasshopper - Conozoa texana - male Cristate Grasshopper - Conozoa texana - male Cristate Grasshopper - Conozoa texana - female Conozoa texana 3rd Instar - Conozoa texana - female Cristate Grasshopper 5th Instar - Conozoa texana Conozoa texana - female
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Crickets, Katydids)
Suborder Caelifera (Grasshoppers)
Family Acrididae (Short-horned Grasshoppers)
Subfamily Oedipodinae (Band-winged Grasshoppers)
Tribe Trimerotropini
Genus Conozoa
Species texana (Cristate Grasshopper)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Conozoa texana Bruner 1889. Type locality: El Paso County, Texas
Trimerotropis texana (Bruner) McNeill 1900
Trimerotropis bilobata Rehn & Hebard 1906. Type locality: Antlers, Mesa County, Colorado
Conozoa bilobata (Rehn & Hebard) Kirby 1910
Trimerotropis cristata McNeill 1901. Type locality: San Julio, Baja California Sur
Size
males about 20-30 mm
females about 25-40 mm
Identification
Typical of Conozoa (see Info section under genus heading).

Variable, but slender; with lateral lobes of pronotum projecting somewhat downward at lower rear corner and usually somewhat angled or toothed there; median crest of pronotum distinct, twice cut, strongly bilobed on prozona (front part); hind tibiae usually greenish to blue toward northwest part of range, yellow to greenish in most areas, and yellow to red from central New Mexico into Texas and Chihuahua.

Conozoa sulcifrons and carinata favor different habitats (mostly bare silty flat low-lying areas, often near water); have the median carina on the pronotum less strongly bilobed on the prozona (often not at all); and C. sulcifrons almost always has bright orange or red hind tibiae, while they are normally yellow in C. carinata (never greenish or bluish in either species). Both species crepitate with a rapid interrupted buzz, instead of the relatively slow ticking of C. texana.

Trimerotropis gracilis can look nearly identical, but is always larger when found in the same areas, and has the lower rear angle of the pronotal lateral lobes rounded. The hind tibiae are brownish to yellow. Body coloration is usually rather plain, sometimes speckled, and gray or brown to blackish (coloring is much more variable in C. texana, and usually not dark). The dark band of the hind wing is usually wider and less curved on the innder edge. It is usually found with sagebrush and does not favor sand over other soil types. It also ticks, in flight, but is louder.

The species listed on BugGuide as "Trimerotropis undescribed-species-a" differs as does T. gracilis, except it is also common in scrub covered alkali flats, the wings may also be greenish or bluish, and the dark wing band is cloudy and faint or absent.

Conozoa texana is almost always found in dry sand areas.
Range
Very wide-ranging, and often quite abundant.

South central British Columbia south through the Columbia Plateau, Snake River Plains, Great Basin, Colorado Plateaus, and Chihuahuan and Sonoran Desert to east central Mexico. Found mostly west from the Rocky Mountains and east of the Sierra Nevada and Cascades. Also in all of Baja California. Replaced in parts of California by more contrastingly patterned and closely related C. rebellis.
Habitat
Exposed sandy areas, particularly stable dunes, mostly in desert or grassland regions.
Life Cycle
Overwinters as eggs. Adults from spring to autumn, usually most common in late spring and/or early summer.
Remarks
One of very few species of American Oedipodinae in which the hind tibia varies in color all the way from blue through green, yellow, and orange to red. Depending on how species are defined, perhaps the only one!

As currently defined, it is possible that more than one species are combined under this name. There is great diversity included, and specimens from opposite ends of the species' distribution appear quite different when compared directly. However, there seems to be a gradual continuum of variation from one region to the next that connects almost all, and there is no obvious place to divide them. Populations along the southern California and northern Baja coastline stand out as particularly distinctive though, and could represent a different species. The close relationship to C. albolineata also needs more study.