Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Trimerotropis californica Bruner, 1889, from San Luis Valley, California
Trimerotropis montana McNeill, 1900, from Boise City, Idaho
Trimerotropis strenua McNeill, 1901, from Salt Lake Valley, Utah
Trimerotropis alliciens Scudder, 1902, from La Cueva, [west base of] Organ Mountains, New Mexico [has been mistakenly synonymized under T. modesta.]
Pseudotrimerotropis californica (Bruner) Kirby, 1910
Pseudotrimerotropis montana (McNeill) Kirby, 1910
Pseudotrimerotropis strenua (McNeill) Kirby, 1910
Thomas, 1873. Type locality: Arizona. In F.V. Hayden. United Geological Survey of the Territories, vol. 5 - Zoology and Botany
. Part I, 'Synopsis of the Acrididae of North America'
by Cyrus Thomas, Ph.D., p. 127 [
also: 1875. In Wheeler. Report upon Geographical and Geological Explorations and Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian, vol. V - Zoology
. Chapter XIII, 'Report upon the Collections of Orthoptera Made in Portions of Nevada, Utah, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona during the Years 1871, 1872, 1873, and 1874'
, by Prof. Cyrus Thomas, p. 876]
. The original description with this name seems to clearly belong to the same species treated on this page, and if so, the name hoffmanii
is clearly the older name and should be the proper name for the species. This situation needs further attention.
Explanation of Names
Some of the names combined under Trimerotropis californica have in the past been treated as different species, and it is quite possible that at least two species are involved. Those from along the coast in southern California are rather distinct from those occuring inland through the rest of the species' distribution. Depending on which type was originally named "californica", the near coastal populations may properly bear that name, which would leave the inland populations (traditionally called T. strenua) with the oldest available name "montana". However, should it be the inland type that occurs at "San Luis Valley, California" (highly likely), the coastal populations would be left with no name. Or, the coastal type may also be conspecific with yellow-legged T. pacific & T. titusi, which would make them simply a red-legged variant of T. pacifica.
Usually with contrasting dark crossbands crossing tegmina, and spaces between light in color. Hind tibiae bright orange to red. Inner hind femora yellow with black cross bands. Hind wing base yellow with moderately wide curving black cross band and distinct spur pointing toward the base (but usually reaching less than half way). Sometimes the dark band fades out toward the outer margin (lower end) and doesn't make the curve around the outer edge. The pronotum nearly always has a tooth at the lower rear margin of the lateral lobes.
Most easily confused with T. pistrinaria, which is generally stockier with a larger rounded head; with wings usually proportionately shorter and broader; with lateral margins of top of pronotum more rounded into the sides than angled; with inner face of hind femur often (not always) black with only one pale cross band; with no tooth on the lower margins of the pronotum.
Both species make a loud harsh uninterrupted buzz in flight.
In California, T. californica is replaced westward by, and might be confused with T. pacifica and T. titusi (with shorter wings, sometimes with pale yellowish hind tibiae, and more often with a reduced dark hind wing band). These both perhaps represent only regional variants of T. californica (in which case Trimerotropis pacifica is the older name for the species, and would replace the name californica).
Sometimes confused with T. latifasciata, especially if the tooth on the pronotum is reduced or missing. T. latifasciata, has a noticeably broader wing band with a very short spur, and the top of the abdomen is usually reddish (sometimes it is slightly reddish in T. californica, but typically not so noticeable). T. latifasciata also tends to be stocker in build. When found in the same area, T. latifasciata is usually distinctly larger. The two usually aren't found together, with T. latifasciata favoring eroded adobe, silty, or somewhat saline habitats in valley bottoms. Often T. latifasciata becomes very abundant in tilled fallow fields and along dirt roads in these same valley bottoms, while T. californica rarely does. T. latifasciata produces a similar crepitation sound, but it is usually distinctly punctuated by short breaks as the insect flies.
In sandy areas on the southern Colorado Plateaus the coloration of T. californica may be much less contrasting, and they then look a lot like T. maritima, but that species occurs further east. There are a few records of T. citrina from this region that likely are misidentifications of this variant of T. californica. Luckily, where the two sometimes occur together in New Mexico and Texas, they are not difficult to tell apart.
In early literature, there was much confusion between various species of Trimerotropis and Spharagemon with red hind tibiae, and older records for several species are often questionable; many are definitely based on misidentified specimens. This species was often involved.
Southern and eastern California, northern Baja California, and eastern Oregon eastward into Idaho, western Colorado, New Mexico, and west Texas; southward on the Central Plateau of Mexico to San Luis Potosi.
Varied, but most often exposed nearly level to gently sloping gravelly areas with little vegetation. Sometimes common in sandy areas, especially in northern Arizona and southeastern Utah.
Overwinters as eggs. Adults late spring or summer to frost, often varying timing with rainfall, and in the south perhaps with two broods per season.
Often very common, and will occasionally come to lights at night.
Original description of Trimerotropis alliciens
in Proceedings of the Davenport Academy of Sciences
, vol.9, p.37, and pl.2 fig.1