Other Common Names
Foul Grasshopper (apparently based on the meaning of the Latin species name; Urbahns, 1920)
Pale-Winged Grasshopper (from StokesAnimalLibrary.com)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Oedipoda obliterata Thomas, 1880 (nom. invalid; non O. obliterata of Germar, 1838)
Dissosteira spurcata Saussure, 1884, described from California.
Explanation of Names
The name "spurcata" is probably derived from Latin "spurcitia" meaning filthiness or dirt, or "spurcus" meaning dirty, filthy, or unclean; perhaps in reference to a dirt-like camouflaged color pattern.
A large relatively slender Grasshopper, very like Dissosteira carolina, except with coloring of wings reversed, being slightly yellowish pale translucent with a dark border (which may be faint). Body and tegmina usually pale yellowish or grayish brown with more contrasting pattern of dark spots (but intensity of pattern varies, and and the pattern may be nearly plain). Hind tibiae pale yellow (often brownish in D. carolina). Pronotum with crest somewhat higher than behind cut. Young nymphs of Dissosteira carolina have hind tibiae and often hind femora black, while those of D. spurcata do not. Older nymphs differ in same ways as adults (except for wings, which aren't yet developed).
Very similar to D. longipennis, but that species has black wings like D. carolina and is found further east on the Great Plains.
Extreme south central British Columbia south to northern Utah, Nevada and into California. South through California (mainly west of Sierra Nevada and deserts) to San Diego area. In many areas has become rare due to development and agriculture, but is still common in most of range.
Grassland areas, usually favoring relatively undisturbed areas with lots of bare soil.
Overwinters as eggs laid in ground, with adults from late spring or early summer to frost, most common in summer.
A fairly powerful flier, but looking rather like a large leasurely pale butterfly when in the air, often producing a faint clicking crepitation. This species is wary and difficult to approach. Not uncommon, but for some reason not often noticed. Probably is of no economic importance, as it rarely occurs away from native grassland areas.
Attracted to lights at night.
Henderson W.W., 1924, 'A Taxonomic and Ecological Study of the Species of the Subfamily Oedipodinae (Orthoptera-Acrididae) found in Utah', Utah Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 191.
Kelly, Gerald D. and Woodrow W. Middlekauff, 1961, 'Biological Studies of Dissosteira spurcata Saussure with Distributional Notes on Related California Species (Orthoptera-Acrididae)', Hilgardia 30(14): 395-424.
'[color=brown]Differentiation and Ecology of Common Immature Gomphocerinae and Oedipodinae (Orthoptera: Acrididae) of Idaho and Adjacent Areas', Melandera 8.