Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Gryllus (Locusta) carolinus Linneaus 1758. Described from Charleston, South Carolina
Acridium carolinum (Linneaus) De Geer, 1773
Locusta carolina (Linneaus) T.W. Harris, 1835
Dissosteira carolina (Linnaeus) S.H. Scudder, 1876
Acridium (Oedipoda) carolinum (Linneaus) S.H. Scudder, 1901
Large. Long broad wings. High sharp ridge on pronotum with one deep cut. Color variable: various earth tones in shades from yellowish, reddish, or brown to grays or nearly black; rarely slightly greenish or bluish; typically rather even in coloring, but often speckled or mottled somewhat darker; sometimes with two irregular darker bands crossing tegmina. Hind wings distinctive, black except for yellow outer border. Hind tibiae brownish to yellow. "A strong flier, often seen hovering or in a zig-zag, fluttering flight of courtship." (1)
Appears butterfly-like in flight. Males (mostly) crepitate faintly in flight, and stridulate (sing) by rubbing hind legs on tegmina.
Similar Dissosteira longipennis usually has more contrasting and obvious spotting over much of body and tegmina, and wings have a clear to pale white margin and base with a bluish tinge at very base. Head is proportionately larger. More restricted in distribution; found on Great Plains between roughly Wyoming & Nebraska and New Mexico & northern Texas (sometimes straying into bordering regions in high population years).
Often confused with Mourning Cloak butterflies (Nymphalis antiopa) due to similar size and wing coloring, but body shape and behavior is quite different, so any confusion should be short-lasting.
Most of lower 48 United States except southern Florida, Gulf Coastal Plain, southwest Arizona, and bottom 2/3rds of California. (1)
Also across southern Canada and into northern Mexico.
Found often along roadsides, nearly bare ground.
Mid-summer to fall. May-November (mid-latitudes). Late June-October (Michigan). June-frost (North Carolina).
Grasses, forbs, horsetails (Equisetum).
Often mistaken for a Butterfly due to large size and often rather lazy bobbing flight. Probably the Bandwing Grasshopper most familiar to the most people in North America, due to it's preference for disturbed often dusty habitats, such as dirt roads, paths, vacant lots, etc.
Commonly attracted to lights at night.
Capinera, pp. 88-89, plate 13. (1)
Capinera, pp. 65-66, plates 42, 43 (2)
Helfer, p. 115, fig. 191 (3)