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Subspecies Trimerotropis verruculata suffusa - Crackling Forest Grasshopper

Grasshopper - Trimerotropis verruculata - male Cryptic Grasshopper - Trimerotropis verruculata - female Crackling Forest Grasshopper - Trimerotropis verruculata - female Crackling Forest Grasshopper - Trimerotropis verruculata - male Yosemite grasshopper - Trimerotropis verruculata - male Speckle-winged Rangeland Grasshopper - Trimerotropis verruculata - male Trimerotropis verruculata - Male? - Trimerotropis verruculata - male Band-winged Grasshopper - Trimerotropis verruculata
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 Trimerotropis
Species verruculata (Crackling Forest Grasshopper)
Subspecies suffusa (Crackling Forest Grasshopper)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Trimerotropis suffusus S. H. Scudder, 1876, from Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Trimerotropis obscura Scudder, 1876, from northern New Mexico
Circotettix suffusus (Scudder) Scudder, 1899
Trimerotropis nubila McNeill, 1900, from Hot Springs, New Mexico
Trimerotropis conspersa McNeill, 1901, from Mt. Shasta, California
Trimerotropis variegata McNeill, 1901, from Tighes Station, San Diego County, California
Pseudotrimerotropis conspersa (McNeill) Kirby, 1910
Pseudotrimerotropis nubila (McNeill) Kirby, 1910
Pseudotrimerotropis obscura (Scudder) Kirby, 1910
Pseudotrimerotropis variegata (McNeill) Kirby, 1910
Trimerotropis verruculatus suffusa (Scudder) Vickery & B. Nagy, 1973

The following was described from mountains in northern and central Nevada in 2014. Distinction at species ranking from T. verruculatus suffusus seems tenuous, and should be studied further. These are striking grasshoppers, with hind wings that have more extensive black pigmentation than is typical for suffusus. A few specimens posted here from Nevada may belong with this name, but we can not see the wings to be sure, and do not know if both types occur together in these mountains, or if this one displaces typical suffusa there.
Trimerotropis aberasturii McNary 2014. Type locality: Toiyabe Range, Nye County, Nevada
Identification
A noisy, usually very dark-colored slender grasshopper of mountains; with tegmina long and wide; the hind wings wide and usually appearing half yellow - half black. In some individuals the coloring may be lighter and/or the tip of the hind wings may be nearly clear, but these can usually be identified easily by habitat and association with darker individuals. Hind tibiae vary in color, but are most often brownish, nearly black, or blue (but may vary to yellowish, greenish, or mixes of these colors).

T. bernardi is very similar, and separation as a distinct species is somewhat dubious. It differs very little from light individuals of subspecies verruculata[i], but from geographically closer subspecies [i]suffusa it differs in averaging somewhat stockier in proportions (with somewhat shorter wings), lighter body and tegmina coloration with distinct darker spotting/mottling, in having the tip of the hind wing mostly clear. These are not characters that in themselves will distinguish this as something different, and occasional specimens from throughout the range of T. v. suffusa will fit this description. T. bernardi apparently replaces T. verruculatus suffusa in a single valley on the south side of the San Bernardino Mountains in southern California. It seems actually to combine traits of T. verruculata suffuse and Circotettix splendidus, which both occur in the mountains nearby to the north.

T. fratercula has shorter narrower tegmina, and shorter hind wings with a narrower dark band. Body coloring averages lighter with dark tegminal cross bands more obvious. The hind tibiae are usually yellowish, but may be greenish or bluish. It is found usually at lower elevations than T. verruculatus suffusa along the Atlantic side of the Southern Rocky Mountains from n. New Mexico to s. Wyoming, and east along bluffs on the Great Plains in the Platte River drainage into western Nebraska. It has a similar flight and produces similar sound.

With wings folded species of Circotettix are very similar, but are usually slightly larger, and are stockier of build. The structure and coloring of the hind wings differs (wider wings with often somewhat undulate margins and with more strongly swollen radial veins). They are higher flying and louder insects.

T. cyaneipennis and T. sparsa can be similar as well, but tegmina are narrower. In the first wings are shorter, and in the later hind wings are narrower. When they fly the wings are usually blue or bluish with the dark band either narrower or often entirely absent. Body coloring averages lighter with dark tegminal cross bands often more obvious. The hind tibiae of T. cyaneipennis are blue and those of T. sparsa yellow. Both species usually occupy lower elevations than T. verruculata suffusa. They produce about the same loud crackling sound when flying.

Yellow-winged populations of T. sparsa from near the base of the Rockies in the Arkansas River valley in Colorado can look very similar to pale individuals of suffusa, but have narrower tegmina; hind wings have the apical portion clear and the dark band relatively narrower. They live in near desert conditions below the mountains and below suffusa.
Range
Western North America, mostly in mountains, from British Columbia and Alberta Canada to southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Remarks
Seems to blend into ssp. verruculatus in Alberta, and specimens there might be difficult to place into one subspecies or the other.

Rare specimens turn up that appear to be hybrids between T. verruculata suffusa and both T. cyaneipennis and T. fratercula. They are intermediate in character between the suspected parents, and are found when the parent species are found together in the same place. T. sparsa, especially in Utah where the two are frequently together, might also be expected to produce hybrids with T. v. suffusa as well.

T. verruculata suffusa is one of the most common and conspicuous Band-wing Grasshoppers in open pine forests of the Rockies and Sierras, where it can be seen (and heard) on most any warm summer or autumn day. The "crepitation" produced in flight is a relatively loud crackling sound, and sometimes males will hover and crackle for several seconds at a time. Never is it so loud and conspicuous as Circotettix species (to which it is related and similar), but nearly so.
Internet References